The home-based Super Eagles of Nigeria were held to a 0-0 draw by Mali in their Group A opener of the 2017 West Africa Football Union (WAFU) Cup of Nations at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium, Cape Coast, Ghana on Thursday, Completesportsnigeria.com report’s.
It was a game that saw both teams evenly matched thereby finding it difficult to break the deadlock.
The draw means both teams now have one point each.
The group’s other game will see hosts Ghana take on Guinea also on Thursday.
The home-based Eagles had the game’s first decent chance in the fourth minute after Mali defender Issa Traore’s poor clearance header but Stephen Eze scuffed his shot.
In the 12th minute, the home-based Eagles broke but Rabiu Ali could not finish the move as his angled shot was blocked in the box.
Three minutes later Ali thought he had given the home-based Eagles the lead after tapping home from close range but he was flagged for offside.
The home-based Eagles continued to create chances and were awarded a free-kick on 17 minutes in a decent area but Chima Akas’ low strike was well saved by the Malian keeper.
It was the turn of Mali to be awarded a free-kick on 18 minutes but Oumar Kida’s header back into the home-based Eagles’ danger area was cleared away to safety.
Kingsley Eduwo should have opened the scoring in the 32nd minute following a knock down from a corner only for Eduwo to miscue his effort before the Malian keeper pounced on the loose ball.
Three minutes into the second half, Gabriel Okechukwu went close for the home-based Eagles but his shot from the edge of the box went wide.
Okechukwu was presented with a chance on 52 minutes off a blunder by the Malian keeper but he failed to get to a through ball.
In the 68th minute Moussa Kone had a chance to put Mali in front only for Ikechukwu Ezenwa to deny him.
A minute later Mali had a golden chance through Mandala Konte who rounded off Ezenwa but saw his effort cleared off the line.
The home-based Eagles responded with their own attack through Ali on 71 minutes who blazed his shot over the bar from the edge of the Malian box.
Substitute Moses Peter was the next to try his luck from range on 82 minutes but the Malian keeper saved his low drive.
The home-based Eagles next game comes up on Saturday, 16 September against Guinea at the Cape Coast Sports Stadium, Cape Coast.