The Super Eagles on Sunday recorded a second consecutive draw after struggling to hold the Warriors of Zimbabwe to a 1-1 draw in Rwanda in their 10-match qualification for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the Match Day 2 Group C encounter was played at Huye Stadium, Butare.
Nigeria had laboured to a 1-1 draw against the Crocodiles of Lesotho on home soil on Day 1 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Thursday.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s 2-1 defeat of Benin Republic’s Cheetahs on Saturday meant the Bafana Bafana were top of Group C before Sunday’s Day 2 encounter.
The Super Eagles therefore came into the second game against Zimbabwe fully aware that a much needed three precious points was at stake for the team to put their campaign back on track.
However, all these proved not to be enough motivation for the boys as Zimbabwe drew the first blood by opening scoring after 26 minutes through Walter Musona.
This was after Musona’s right footed shot from a 35-yard free-kick eluded goalkeeper Francis Uzoho and sailed into the net.
The Eagles did not play with the stronger mentality and determination they espoused after the 1-1 draw with Lesotho in Uyo on Thursday.
The Warriors, who played their own game against Rwanda a day earlier and better-rested, showed more hunger and desire for the three points.
The Super Eagles continued their poor form and had to wait until the 67th minute to get the better of goalkeeper Bernard Donovan.
This was after Moses Simon’s stout shielding of the ball and good decision in the box allowed Kelechi Iheanacho to slam past the goalkeeper for Nigeria’s equaliser.
Coach Jose Peseiro did the changes bringing in Umar Sadiq for Terem Moffi and Jamilu Collins for Bruno Onyemaechi as he went in search for the winner.
However, the Zimbabwean defence was resolute as they held on to settle for a hard-fought draw, denying Nigeria another chance of grabbing all three points.
The result meant South Africa with three points remained on top of the Group C six-nations table in spite having played only one game.
Nigeria and Zimbabwe are second and third respectively with two points from two games played.
Fourth and fifth-placed Lesotho and Rwanda have one point each from one game played, while Benin Republic sit at the bottom of the log with no point.
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Rwanda will host South Africa at the Huye Stadium in a Match Day 2 encounter, while Lesotho take on Benin Republic at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa on Tuesday from 2pm.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers resume in June 2024 with Nigeria hosting South Africa, current leaders of Group C, before travelling to an away game against Benin Republic.