Rwanda held Nigeria to a goalless draw in the opening game of the 2018 Africa Nations Championship’s Group C played on Monday at Grand Stade de Tangier in Morocco.
Rwanda goalie Eric Ndayishimiye pulled brilliant saves with Nigeria dominated the first half as both sides failed to find the net. The result ensures Libya maintains top spot of the group thanks to their 3-0 humbling of Equatorial Guinea in the earlier kick-off.
The Super Eagles B were the better side, dominating possession in both halves but failed to do the most important thing – goal scoring.
With veteran Rabiu Ali leading Nigeria’s onslaughts, youngster Sunday Faleye was unlucky to see his header from Osas Okoro’s assist bounce off the crossbar in the opening minutes with Ndayishimiye completely beaten.
On 38 minutes, Ali wasted a golden opportunity to send Nigeria into the lead, volleying wide after the Rwandan goalie had spilled a cross onto his path.
The Amavubi survived yet another scare from the Super Eagles four minutes before the interval, after a long drive from Ali came off the post with Ndayishimiye beaten yet again.
The second half resumed on the same tempo with Rwanda coming into the picture following the introduction of nimble footed AS Kigali midfielder Savio Nshuti and Mico Justin for Abeddy Biramahire and Barnabe Mubumbyi.
Towards the last 20 minutes, the Amavubi grew in confidence and Eric Rutanga saw his curling effort from a set piece missing the top right corner by inches.
In the 80th minute, Nigeria were unlucky not to score as Eze saw his well-taken header coming off the left post once again.
Amavubi also had a free kick in the dying minutes of the game which was taken again by Rutanga but didn’t materialize as his cross was headed away by the Nigerian defense.
Meanwhile, Djihad Bizimana was named man of the match following his excellent individual performances in the game.
With a goalless draw, Rwanda secured a point and is left with two matches against Equatorial Guinea on Friday, January 19 and Libya on January 23 before completing her group stage campaign.