Iheanacho saves Super Eagles against Zimbabwe

Iheanacho saves Super Eagles against Zimbabwe
Kelechi Iheanacho Okoye of Nigeria celebrates goal during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Nigeria and Liberia at Teslim Balogun Stadium, Lagos, Nigeria on 03 September 2021 ©BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Sunday Nov 19, 2023. 18:09

Kelechi Iheanacho was the hero for Nigeria in their latest Group C 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier, as the Super Eagles and Zimbabwe recorded an eventful 1-1 stalemate at the Huye Stadium on Sunday.

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-meter free-kick dumbfounded Francis Uzoho in goal.

Musona’s effort injected vigour 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 half-time 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. Nonetheless, 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

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