Former Super Eagles skipper, Mikel John Obi made his debut for new club Trabzonspor as they kept their hopes of reaching the Europa League group stages alive, following a 2-2 draw away at Czech side Sparta Praha.
Having just begun full training with the squad earlier this week, the Nigerian was given the nod to lead the midfield alongside Jose Sosa whilst forward Anthony Nwakaeme was also listed in the starting XI.
But it was the host who took the early initiative when Zimbabwe defender Costa Nhamoinesu put them ahead on 16 minutes a lead they held going into the half time break.
Mikel was however withdrawn by half time for Alexander Sorloth following his first-half yellow card but it was the visitors who doubled their lead on 68th minutes courtesy of Guelor Kanga.
Down but not out, Turkish forward Caleb Ekuban started the comeback seven minutes from time with a well-taken goal to make it 2-1 before he then set up Alexander Sorloth in the 89th minutes to steal a vital away result for the host.
Both Mikel and Nwakeame will now hope to seal their progress next week in Trabzon when both sides clash in the return leg.
By Oyediji Oluwaseun Babatunde