The Cranes of Uganda maintained their impressive record against Nigeria’s Super Eagles after playing a scoreless draw in Asaba, Tuesday.
Both sides came into the game after securing qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations last weekend, and there was little to separate them at the packed Stephen Keshi Stadium in the Delta State Capital.
Nigeria head coach Gernot Rohr made six changes to the side that held South Africa to a 1-1 draw in Johannesburg on Saturday, and while there was enterprise in their play, the lack of cohesion eventually told as the Ugandans walked away with a respectable draw.
Samuel Chukwueze, the highly-rated Villarreal youngster, came out as one of the positives from the tie with his mesmerizing dribbling and penetrating runs that left the Cranes on the edge in the opening 45 minutes.
The Eagles should have taken the lead just before the hour after one of Chukwueze’s slalom runs, but Victor Osimhen and Alex Iwobi all failed to take advantage of the loose ball in the Ugandan box.
Following Chukwueze’s rather curious withdrawal at half-time, his replacement, Samuel Kalu, carried what little danger the Eagles posed in the second period with the miserly Ugandan defence largely untroubled.
Kalu’s free-kick from 35 yards, after he’d been fouled by Khalid Anchou, was the closest Nigeria came to scoring in a second-half devoid of quality from both sides.
Mikel Agu almost capped an impressive performance with a goal deep late in the game but his header, from Kalu’s corner, just sailed over the bar leaving Nigerian fans with their hands on their heads.