•As Dele Bashiru cancels Zwane stunner


Nigeria and South Africa settled for a 1-1 draw in their crucial World Cup qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Friday night.

Fisayo Dele-Bashiru scored his second goal for Nigeria to cancel out a fine Themba Zwane opener as the Super Eagles failed to soar past the visitors.

Finidi handed Manchester City academy product Fisayo Dele-Bashiru a place in the starting lineup while Chippa United goalkeeper Stanley Nwabali made his home debut for the Super Eagles after earning eleven caps in away grounds.

With the team initially set up in an exciting-looking 4-3-3, the Super Eagles played on the front foot in the opening stages.

However, South Africa’s short passing move allowed the Bafana Bafana to quickly settle and it was the visitors who had the first chance of the game when a Teboho Mokoena free-kick grazed Nwabali’s crossbar.

South Africa took the lead their fine play deserved just before the half-hour mark after Themba Zwane danced past a sleepy Nigeria defence to fire beyond Nwabali.

The visitors came to a second shortly after but Benjamin Tanimu was on hand to head the ball away with Nwabali beaten.

Late in the half, Nigeria finally had a sniff at goal but Onuachu, preferred in attack to Victor Boniface, placed his header from an Ademola Lookman cross close to goalkeeper Ronwen Williams.

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The Bafana Bafana headed into the dressing room at halftime the happier of the two teams while the Super Eagles would have been silently pleased to be only behind by a lone goal.

After riding their luck for the best part of the opening half, Nigeria came out smoking in the second half and swiftly saw their efforts rewarded.

Onuachu combined smartly with Iwobi after which the Fulham man fed Dele-Bashiru, who turned brilliantly to smash a low drive into the net.

Nigeria had a good shout for a penalty shortly after when Dele-Bashiru was hacked down in the box but the referee shockingly waved play on.

Goalscorer Dele-Bashiru did not recover from that knock and he was replaced on the hour mark by Alhassan Yusuf.

The Super Eagles were showing more fight than in the first half and the chances began to open up for the home team.

Bright Osayi-Samuel had the sight of goal after Onuachu played him in but the Fenerbahce fullback fired straight at goalkeeper Williams.

Iwobi then fired high and wide when we’ll places before substitute Samuel Chukwueze smashed one into the crossbar after a smart one-two with Yusuf.

Nigeria had two late chances through Lookman to claim a win but the Atalanta man could not find the efficiency he showed in the final of the Europa League.

In the end, Finidi George’s Eagles settled for a draw with the Bafana to lose the chance to go top of Group C.

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