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Swaziland hold Eagles to goalless draw

Swaziland hold Eagles to goalless draw
November 13
20:40 2015
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Super Eagles of Nigeria were held to a 0-0 draw by Swaziland in a 2018 World Cup first-leg qualifier at the Somhlolo National Stadium in Lobamba on Friday.

Despite 71 places separating both sides in the FIFA ranking it counted for nothing as the home team held their own against the more fancied Nigerians.

The high points of the game, albeit on individual levels, were the debut of Manchester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho and Obafemi Martins return to the fold after more than two years absence.

Nigeria almost took the lead in the 27th minute, but Swaziland goalkeeper Nhlanla Gwebu made a double save first from Ogenyi Onazi’s free-kick then blocking an Ahmed Musa’s rebound before Odion Ighalo eventually shot wide from close range.

The home side had two chances before the break to put their noses in front, but Sanele Mkhweli headed wide from five yards out. The other gilt-edged chance fell to Felix Badenhorst, but the midfielder could not direct his header into the net.

Barely two minutes into the second half Eagles were presented an opportunity to score the first goal when Machawe Dlamini mishit clearance fell to Ighalo but the Watford forward couldn’t make him pay for the error.

Nigeria’s defence was later ripped open by a quick exchange of passes from Mxolisi Lukhele and Sabelo Ndzinisa, but Carl Ikeme was equal to the effort.

In the 58th minute, Rabiu Ibrahim left the keeper stranded with his free-kick, but the crossbar came to the rescue of the host.

Musa could have scored a late winner for his side after finding his way through the defence, but he shot wide when faced with the keeper.

Now, Sunday Oliseh and his players are expected to get the job done in the return leg on Tuesday in Port Harcourt.

EAGLES LINE-UP

Carl Ikeme – Elderson Echiejile, Shehu Abdullahi, Godfrey Oboabona, Efe Ambrose – John Obi Mikel (Obafemi Martins 71), Ogenyi Onazi, Sylvester Igbonu (Rabiu Ibrahim 46) (Kelechi Iheanacho 66) – Moses Simon, Ahmed Musa, Odion Ighalo

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