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Eagles labour to 1-1 draw against South Africa

Eagles labour to 1-1 draw against South Africa

The hopes of Nigeria qualifying for the 2026 World Cup to be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the United States suffered a setback on Friday after they were held to a 1-1 draw at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Friday.

Themba Zwane silenced the Uyo fans just before the half-hour mark when he skipped past two defenders Semi Ajayi and Calvin Bassey before firing a low drive past Stanley Nwabali in goal.

But Fisayo Dele-Bashiru drew the Eagles level with a fantastic finish, 37 seconds after the half-time break.

Nigeria started brightly and could have taken the lead as early as the third minute, but Paul Onuachu failed to direct his header goalwards.

On the eighth minute, it was Ademola Lookman who missed the target from the edge of the box.
Teboho Mokoena’s free kick in the 16th minute brushed against the crossbar with the Super Eagles goalkeeper stranded.

Benjamin Tanimu had to come to the rescue of the Super Eagles on 36 minutes when goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali was beaten by a
chipped effort but the Tanzania-based defender headed to safety.

South Africa continued to pour forward, but Elias Mokwana failed to finish off another sleek attacking move even when he was face-to-face with Nwabali.

The Eagles were expected to dominate Group C, and turn it into a two-horse race with Bafana Bafana, but they have suffered early stumbles recording three surprise draws at home to Lesotho and South Africa and away to Zimbabwe

There are still six matches to go, and things are far from decided, but the picture could become slightly less opaque after matchday four next week as Nigeria find themselves staring hard down the barrel.

The Eagles remain fifth with three games after three games. They will face Benin Republic next Monday at the Felix Houphouet Boigny stadium in Ivory Coast.

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