The expectations were high, the stands were filled to capacity but there were no goals to celebrate.
Fierce rivals Nigeria and Uganda settled for a goalless draw in an entertaining friendly match at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba on Tuesday.
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.
Both teams had secured their 2019 AFCON tickets on Saturday, and turned up in Asaba with gargantuan enthusiasm.
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.
Eagles 4-2-3-1 -Daniel Akpeyi – Jamilu Collins, Bryan Idowu, John Ogu (Kelechi Iheanacho 88), Semi Ajayi – Mikel Agu, Oghenekaro Etebo (William Ekong 46) – Alex Iwobi (Henry Onyekuru 75), Ahmed Musa (Moses Simon 68), Samuel Chukwueze (Samuel Kalu 46) – Victor Osimhen (Isaac Success 46)