Tuesday, January 16, 2018 12:04 am
The home-based Super Eagles failed to claim a win as they were held 0-0 by Rwanda in their opening match of the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) on Monday.
Nigeria and Rwanda settled for a barren draw in their Group C opener at the Stade Ibn Batouta in Tangiers, Morocco.
The stalemate leaves the Super Eagles in joint second position in the group, two points behind Libya who beat Equatorial Guinea 3-0 earlier on Monday.
Libya maintains top spot of the group thanks to their 3-0 humbling of Equatorial Guinea in the earlier kick-off.
It was a frustrating night for the West Africans who saw the post and crossbar deny them no less than three occasions.
But superb saves from Rwanda goalkeeper Eric Ndayishimiye also added to their misery.
The home-based Eagles were the better side, dominating possession in both halves but failed to do the most important thing – goal scoring.
With veteran Rabiu Ali leading Nigeria’s onslaughts, youngster Sunday Faleye was unlucky to see his header from Osas Okoro’s assist bounce off the crossbar in the opening minutes with Ndayishimiye completely beaten.
In the 38 minute, Ali wasted a golden opportunity to send Nigeria into the lead, volleying wide after the Rwandan goalkeeper had spilled a cross onto his path.
The Amavubi will survive yet another scare from the Super Eagles four minutes before the interval, after a long drive from Ali came off the post with Ndayishimiye beaten yet again.
The second half resumed on the same tempo with Rwanda coming into the picture following the introduction of nimble footed AS Kigali midfielder Savio Nshuti.
In the 78 minute, the upright came to the rescue of Amavubi for the third time after substitute Ibrahim Mustapha’s header from an Ali corner kick hit the post to the relief of Rwanda.
Nigeria next face Libya on Thursday whilst Rwanda battle Equatorial Guinea.
The championship which began on Saturday is expected to end on Feb. 4.(NAN)