Zimbabwe frustrate Super Eagles

football20 November 2023 07:15| © Backpage TXT
article image
Kelechi Iheanacho © Gallo Images

As a key feature in this week’s Africa 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifiers, Zimbabwe and Nigeria shared the spoils in a tight 1-1 draw at the Huye Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Super Eagles saw most of the ball during the opening exchanges of the match as Zimbabwe sat back in defending their penalty area. With 10 minutes played at the Huye Stadium, Nigeria continued to press high up the pitch, leading Zimbabwe to commit errors inside their half.

Not holding back, Zimbabwe provided Nigeria with a couple of shaky moments as the 20th minute approached, while Prince Dube proved to be a tricky customer to deal with in attack.

After winning a free-kick on the edge of the Nigeria area, Zimbabwe took the lead moments before the half-hour mark as Walter Musona’s stunning 30-metre free-kick dumbfounded Francis Uzoho in goal.

Musona’s effort injected vigor into Zimbabwe’s overall game as the Warriors dominated play for much of the half. While Nigeria struggled to breach Zimbabwe’s stubborn defence, the Warriors managed to preserve their lead up until the halftime whistle.

With the referee restarting matters at the Huye Stadium, Zimbabwe immediately asserted themselves on the ball and bossed the possession count in the process.

Despite the Warriors confident play in the middle of the park, it was Nigeria who created more notable scoring opportunities and gathered steam leading up to the hour-mark.

The Super Eagles then drew level in the 67th minute, with Kelechi Iheanacho getting his name on the scoreboard. After finding himself in a favourable position on the edge of the 18-yard-area, Iheanacho fired a left-footed shot that beat Donavan at his left post.

Nigeria upped their game after Iheanacho’s equaliser and actively searched for a winner leading up to the 80th minute. However, Zimbabwe sat tight and did well to keep the African giants at an arm’s length.

With the clock running down, both sides showcased their intent at wanting to win the ball in midfield. However, it was Zimbabwe who edged Nigeria to the possession statistics.

Despite a lengthy injury time period, neither side were able to make the most of their chances in the final third with the scoreline remaining 1-1 toward the final whistle.

Zimbabwe: (1) 1 (Musona 28’)

Nigeria: (0) 1 (Iheanacho 67’)

Zimbabwe: Donavan, Mbeba (Lunga 83’), Takwara, Hadebe, Zemura, Munetsi, Nakamba, Rinomhota (Shandirwa 83’), Dube (Garananga 70’), Kadewere, Musona (Chirinda 69’)

Nigeria: Uzoho, Onyemaechi (Collins 85’), Bassey, Ajayi, Aina (Osayi-Samuel 46’), Simon, Iwobi, Onyeka (Boniface 46’), Tella (Iheanacho 45’), Moffi (Sadiq 77’), Aribo