The Super Eagles were held to a 0-0 draw by Uganda in Tuesday’s friendly clash at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.
The Super Eagles looked like a team that could get a win in their first game after qualifying for next year’s African Cup of Nations finals but the unrelenting Ugandan defense held their ground to continue their impressive run so far.
Sporting Charleroi striker Victor Osimhen, on his full debut for the national team, had the clearest chances for the hosts but his efforts were off target while debutant and former U17 teammate Samuel Chukwueze delivered an impressive performance.
As expected, Gernot Rohr changed the lineup save five players from Saturday’s game against South Africa retaining their spot in an imaginative 4-3-3 formation.
In-form Villarreal winger Chukwueze started his debut on the right side of the attack with Osimhen leading the line, and captain Ahmed Musa adding his experience to an exciting attack.
John Ogu – who had Mikel Agu take his place at the base of the midfield – dropped to a four-man defense, partnering Semi Ajayi in center-back with Brian Idowu to his right while Daniel Akpeyi started in goal.
For the visiting Cranes, who were without star duo of goalkeeper Dennis Onyango and Farouk Miya, Salim Jamal started in goal and Moses Waiswa playing the attacking midfield role.
The Super Eagles took the initiative in the opening exchanges with right winger Chukwueze showing flashes of brilliance but it was the visitors that had carved out the first real chance of the game.
Derrick Nsibambi got in between Ogu and Ajayi showed some brilliance to win a long punt but saw his improvised acrobatic effort sail across Akpeyi’s post.
Etebo and Osimhen threatened the Cranes’ posts with sublime efforts in quick succession. The Stoke City midfielder drilled a putative freekick from long range that was pushed out for the corner kick and the striker headed the resulting set piece – a teasing inswinger from Chukwueze – past the target.
Osimhen, again, almost got his first senior goal after being picked by a brilliant Jamilu Collins centre but for the combination of a Ugandan defender and goalkeeper Jamal.
The first half ended with both sides creating few chances and Rohr made three changes before the second 45 minutes started, with only Musa retaining his spot in the forward line as Isaac Success and Samuel Kalu came on.
Kalu duly took over the chief persecutor role from his replacement Chukwueze, causing the Uganda defense all sort of problems and even came close to opening the scoring with a long-range free-kick in the 70th minute.
With eight minutes left, the Bordeaux star sought to create the winner off another well-taken indirect free-kick, but the Cranes were quick to clear their lines.
The impressive Agu would have been the hero of the evening but he directed his header from another Kalu delivery slightly off the target as both sides settled for a share of the spoils.