Nigeria’s home-base Super Eagles were on Thursday forced to a 0-0 draw by the Eagles of Mali in their opening Group A match at the 2017 WAFU Championship in Ghana. Mali had made clear their intentions as early as the fifth minute when Kone tested Nigeria’s Ikechukwu Ezenwa with a long range shot. The Eagles had shown their superiority in the game through a number of attacks led by Rabiu Ali with the Malians sitting back to soak the pressure from Nigeria’s rampaging forwards.
Ubong Friday, the Akwa United frontman looked more lively in Nigeria’s attack after a number of efforts at goal, but failed to trouble Mali’s goalkeeper, Diarra.
The Malians again threatened Nigeria in the 70th minute. Adeleye Olamilekan made a timely goal line clearance after Ezenwa had made a good save from a point blank shot.
Anthony Okpotu was introduced late into the game by coach Salisu Yusuf, but the forward could not make the desired impact. An adventurous attack from the Nigerian team almost produced a goal in the 82nd minute, when Rabiu Ali found Moses Peter Eneji in the opponent’s 18-yard area, but the Plateau United attacker fired straight at Diarra.
The Malian Eagles were forced twice to make vital clearances in added minutes of the game before the referee blew the final whistle.