The Super Eagles needed to get a win in Rwanda to put themselves in a good position in Group C, but they failed to show their quality
Kelechi Iheanacho got off the bench to score for Nigeria, but his goal was not enough as the Super Eagles settled for a 1-1 draw against Zimbabwe in their second game of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.
Soccernet reports that the Super Eagles traveled to Stade Huey to take on the Warriors of Zimbabwe. After drawing their first game against Lesotho in Uyo, they were condemned to get a win against Zimbabwe to put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the World Cup.
Coach Jose Peseiro made five changes from the side that drew to Lesotho, but that decision did not yield fruits.
Zimbabwe started the game well, matching the Super Eagles toe-to-toe. It was a neutral ground, but the Warriors played like they were on a neutral ground.
Unlike the first game, when Nigeria were domineering over Lesotho, this game was tougher.
The Super Eagles had a good chance to score in the 15th minute, but Nathan Tella failed to conjure a good cross, and Zimbabwe cleared their lines.
The game was pretty balanced until the 26th minute when Zimbabwe won a free-kick a few meters in front of Nigeria’s box. The position of the free-kick did not make the option of a direct strike a smart one. However, Walter Musona had other ideas, as he sent a wicked shot past Francis Uzoho in Nigeria’s goal to make it 1-0 for Zimbabwe.
However, after going down, Nigeria still looked harmless and failed to create anything in the final third.
At halftime, Peseiro made three changes, introducing Bright Osayi-Samuel, Kelechi Iheanacho, and Victor Boniface in place of Ola Aina, Frank Onyeka, and Nathan Tella.
This was in a bid to add some bite to the team. But that decision did not yield fruits early enough, as the Super Eagles failed to break down the dogged Zimbabwean defence.
Nonetheless, Nigeria had a glimmer of hope when they won an indirect freekick after the Zimbabwean goalkeeper mishandled the ball in the box.
Iheanacho almost scored from that opportunity, but the sea of yellow Zimbabwean jerseys stopped the ball from creeping into the net.
Nonetheless, Nigeia’s quality eventually paid off. Moses Simon got on the end of a long pass and passed it to Iheanacho, who was lurking in the box. The Leicester City man showed his killer instance, striking the ball into the bottom-left corner.
Zimbabwe employed a low block, and Nigeria failed to penetrate despite their prowess in attack. In the closing embers of the game, Zimbabwe had the better chances to score, but the Super Eagles just managed to hang on.
Both sides eventually settled for a 1-1 draw, and that puts them on two points after their first two games. The result puts them in a bad position, as a win for South Africa would ensure a two-point gap.