Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Fierce rivals Nigeria and Uganda settled for a goalless draw in an entertaining friendly played at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba yesterday.
There was a full house at the arena for what was the first –ever international football match in the capital of Delta State, and though the spectators rooted for a win for the three-time African champions, they went home satiated by the endeavour of the Super Eagles and the spirit of competition between both teams.
The draw in the Asaba Friendly was the second time in eight matches by three-time African champions against the Uganda Cranes.
It was also the Super Eagles’ second draw in five games since losing 2-1 to Argentina at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
For the two nations, the international friendly served as preparation for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon as both teams booked their spots with good result in their respective Match-day 5 qualifying games over the weekend even with a game in hand.
The Ugandans had the game’s first real chance, but Derrick Nsimambi, after beating John Ogu from a long ball, went for the spectacular overhead kick, playing the ball wide
off the goal area.
The visitors were quick off the mark, as the tricky Derick Nsibambi came close from a good move in the 10th minute, but three minutes later, Nigeria also knocked on the door though Captain Ahmed Musa’s pull –out was well read by the Cranes’ defence.
In the 15th minute, Victor Osimhen should have put the Eagles in front when he wrestled the ball from Timothy Awany, only to overplay his showboating and lose the ball.
Oghenekaro Etebo’s free kick came quite close, Osimhen headed wide and another Etebo free kick rose a bit too high, as the Eagles piled on the pressure with youngster Samuel Chukwueze full of creativity on the right wing. The Villarreal of Spain star danced past Awany and Godfrey Walusimbi in the 33rd minute, but Musa couldn’t get to the the pass to finish up.
In the second half, Samuel Kalu, Mikel Agu, Isaac Success and Moses Simon worked hard at getting a goal, as the crowd demanded for one with their song. But the final touch was lacking.
At the other end, the brilliant Emmanuel Okwi, alongside Denis Iguma, Khalid Aucho and Waiswa Ndhondi threatened the Nigeria goal severally, without any success in breaching it.
A final opportunity presented itself in added time, but Agu headed Kalu’s corner kick narrowly over the bar.