UPDATED: Zimbabwe Warriors hold Super Eagles of Nigeria in rainy weather
Zimbabwe’s Warriors came out fighting, matching the Super Eagles grit for grit under a rain-affected weather at the Stephen Keshi Stadium Asaba on Saturday, and the long anticipated pre-AFCON 2019 friendly ended goalless.
The first serious attempt on goal came to the Super Eagles in the 5th minute, but Paul Onuachu failed to convert Samuel Kalu’s hopeful pass.
In the 15th minute, Chukwueze sidestepped his marker at the edge of Zimbabwe box and powered a left-footed shot which Warriors’ goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda parried out of danger.
Then Alex Iwobi and Paul Onuachu’s combination in the 17th minute almost hurt Zimbabwe, but the Arsenal youngster’s shot sailed off target. And at the other end, in the 19th minute, Jamilu Collins’ resilient defending stopped knowledge Musona’s hopeful goal-bound run.
Chukwueze got wounded on the head and went the sideline for treatment in the 28th minute . He was back on the pitch in no time with bandaged head, then dusted his maker on the right flank and deftly crossed to Samuel Kalu who shot wide off target.
The Warriors also had their remarkable moments as the first half wore on. Musona lurked dangerously at Eagles’ area after Oghenekaro Etebo was dispossessed, but Kenneth Omeruo halted him with a nifty body shield at the baseline.
Warriors’ Ovidy Karuru dazzled witha brief solo run in the 40th minute but couldn’t keep his diagonal shot down.
Just before the start of second half Gernot Rohr ringed some changes: Ahmed Musa, Chidozie Awaziem and William Troost Ekong replaced Samuel Kalu, Ola Aina and Kenneth Omeruo respectively
Zimbabwe coach Sunday Chidzambga also made some substitutions.
Ahmed Musa and Chukwueze promptly went harrying at the Warriors’ area early in the second half but the visitors were resilient in defending.
In the 63rd minute left-back Jamilu Collins made a great run at goal but Zimbabwe’s substitute goalkeeper George Chigova saved on his darting feet. Paul Onuachu gave way Victor Osimhen gave way for Victor Osimhen thereafter.
Onyekuru was subbed on in the 73rd minute for Chukwueze as Gernot Rohr continued to assess his players under the rainy weather.
Quite remarkable was John Mikel Obi’s resourcefulness as the Super Eagles raised their dominance in the last 15 minutes of the match. He was later replaced by John Ogu in the 85th minute.
Leon Balogun milked huge applause from the fans in the 78th minute as he dribbled an attacker roundly and set up Eagles’ offensive play again.
Only three minutes were added on for stoppages and Nigeria won a free-kick in the 91st, but Etebo’s effort yielded nothing, and the match ended in a barren draw.