Tanzania/Nigeria: Goal-Shy Stars Let Nigeria Escape

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Tanzania Hold Super Eagles –┬áTanzania held visiting Nigeria to a draw in a Group G clash.

THE national football team, Taifa Stars, spurned a host of chances as they were held to a goalless draw by Nigeria in the 2017 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualifier at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Saturday.

Charles Boniface Mkwasa’s side produced a stunning performance to the delight of many Tanzanian supporters, but could not do enough to register a historic win over three-time African champions, Nigeria on match day two of the AFCON qualifying campaign.

Sunday Oliseh’s Super Eagles will have Wolverhampton Wanderers goalkeeper Carl Ikeme to thank as he made a couple of stunning saves that prevented the Stars from taking all three points from the fixture.

The visitors were the first to threaten early on through Moses Simon, who charged down the left but he was fouled by Shomari Kapombe and took the resulting free kick that was headed awkwardly wide by Emmanuel Emenike.

Determined to bounce back from the 3-0 defeat they suffered to Egypt on match-day one, Taifa Stars immediately seized control and showed higher thirst for goal.

Encouragingly, Mkwasa’s team looked more organised and had more than enough chances to be leading at the interval with Ikeme occasionally proving to Nigeria’s the savior so far.

Ikeme’s first save off Mbwana Samata effort was particularly impressive, as Taifa Stars continued to show they were anything but intimidated by their mighty visitors.

Nigeria were the second best for most of the opening half with the Taifa Stars, led by the striking trio of Samata, Ulimwengu and Ngasa, looking superior as they fashioned out the more dangerous openings.

The Stars defence was well marshalled by skipper Nadir Haroub, Kelvin Yondan, Haji Mwinyi and Shomari Kapombe. They worked hard to contain Nigeria’s attackers, with midfield players Frank Domayo, Said Ndemla and Himid Mao turning in an industrious performance.

Oliseh, leading the Super Eagles for the first time after he replaced former coach, Stephen Keshi responded by substituting Haruna after just 35 minutes with debutant Sylvester Igboun taking the Anzhi striker’s place.

Nigeria started brightly after the restart and Emenike threatened from range after 48 minutes and Stars had to deal with Musa’s pace as he continued to cause them problems down the right flank. He burst past Stars defenders in the 57th minute only to be let down by an atrocious final touch.

Moments later, Taifa Stars went close to open the score with Ulimwengu forcing Ikeme into making a superb save from point blank range. Mkwasa made his first change, throwing on Mudathir Yahya while Oliseh also responded with his second change which saw Werder Bremen attacker, Anthony Ujah replacing the tiring Emenike.

It was the Taifa Stars that, however, continued to boss the proceedings and they came close to scoring the game’s first goal through unmarked Ngassa, who planted a header wide from Mwnyi’s cross with the goal at his mercy.

Ulimwengu almost scored two minutes after Ngassa’s shocking miss. Ndemla spotted the TP Mazembe’s man with a wonderful pass but his low angled drive was impressively kept out by the exemplary Ikeme.

Mkwasa threw in John Bocco and Simon Msuva later on and the Stars dominated the rest of the half, but they failed to capitalise on a host of giltedged chances as they settled for a share of spoils with the Super Eagles.

The results leaves Taifa Stars bottom of Group D with a single point, while Nigeria are now on four points following their 2-0 win over Chad on match day one.