Saturday, 8 June 2019

Nigeria 0 Zimbabwe 0: Warriors hold Super Eagles in Asaba

Nigeria were held to a 0-0 draw by Zimbabwe in Saturday's international friendly match in Asaba.

The two countries – preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations – could not find the back of the net as it rained throughout in the Stephen Keshi Stadium.

Nigeria dominated proceedings in the opening 45 minutes but lacked the scoring edge as Samuel Chuekwueze and Samuel Kalu both came close to break the deadlock.

Chukwueze was a constant threat to the Zimbabwean defence and had his clear shot at goal in the 16th minute.

The Villarreal winger tested goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda with his curled shot which was the Super Eagles’ only shot on target in the first half.

A minute later, Alex Iwobi had another attempt to put Nigeria ahead but his effort was blocked by the Warriors for a corner kick.

While Gernot Rohr’s side push for a goal, Zimbabwe, on their part, resorted to counter-attack and their clear chance came in the 22nd minute, only for Nyasha Mushekwi to blast his shot over the bar.

Moments later, the game was slightly delayed for Chukwueze to clean his bleeding face.

Both teams made changes before the restart of the game with Zimbabwe introducing five players while Rohr sent William Troost-Ekong, Ahmed Musa and Chidozie Awaziem in to replace Kenneth Omeruo, Samuel Kalu and Ola Aina respectively.

The introductions made no difference on the score sheet even though the Super Eagles started the second 45 minutes as the better side.

A beautiful team move by the three-time African champions in the 63rd minute saw Jamilu Collins run through the Warriors' defence but goalkeeper George Chigova rushed out of his goal line to clear.

Onyekuru’s introduction for Chukwueze in the 74th minute boosted Nigeria’s attack and his first touch was a pass to Osimhen which the Sporting Charleroi forward nearly turned into the back of Chigova’s net.

With four minutes remaining, captain John Obi Mikel was replaced by John Ogu as Zimbabwe held on to a goalless draw in Asaba.

The Man of the Match for this game is @mikel_john_obi.#TotalAFCON2019#SoarSuperEagles #Team9jaStrong.— 🇳🇬 Super Eagles (@NGSuperEagles) June 8, 2019

At the end of the encounter, Mikel was named the Man of the Match for his impressive display in the midfield.

The Super Eagles still have another friendly game against Senegal at the Ismailia Stadium on June 16 before commencing their Afcon campaign in Group B against Burundi, Guinea and Madagascar.

Zimbabwe have also scheduled a preparatory game with Ghana before their fourth appearance in the continental tournament.

They are in Group A against Egypt, Uganda and DR Congo.

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