Nigeria’s Super Eagles were held to a goalless draw by Zimbabwe at the Stephen Keshi Stadium in Asaba on a rainy Saturday evening at an international friendly match.
The two countries, who are rounding off preparations for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt, failed to find the back of the net an extremely wet pitch.
Nigeria led the stats table in the opening 45 minutes but lacked the scoring edge as Samuel Chuekwueze and Samuel Kalu both came close to break the deadlock.
Villareal CF’s Chukwueze was a constant threat to the Warriors defence, coming close to putting his name on the scoreboard with a clear shot at goal in the 16th minute.
The 20-year-old 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 Zimbabwe 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 Super Eagles will face Senegal in another friendly game at the Ismailia Stadium in Egypt on June 16 before kicking off their AFCON campaign in Group B battling Burundi, Guinea, and Madagascar.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe have also scheduled a preparatory game with Ghana before their fourth appearance in the continental showpiece before they fight for survival in Group A against Egypt, Uganda and DR Congo.