The World Cup warm-up between Nigeria and Mexico ended in a scoreless draw inside the capacity filled Georgia Dome stadium on Wednesday.
Super Eagles head coach, Stephen Keshi, made the most of the occasion by handing Cercle Brugges’ Michael Uchebo a debut start. Leon Balogun’s dream debut was cut shot by injury, coming off for Warri Wolves’ Azubuikwe Eguekwe minutes after replacing Efe Ambrose, nonetheless; Ramon Azeez and Ezekiel Imoh enjoyed their first time with the African champions.
Nigeria got off to an impressive start and dominated in the early stages of the first 45 minutes before the ‘El Tri’ worked their way into the thrilling contest.
Goalkeepers Vincent Enyeama and Guillermo Ochoa fended off some seemingly goal-scoring opportunities at both ends to ensure parity in the dead.
On Loan Liverpool winger Victor Moses and CSKA Moscow forward Ahmed Musa posed greater threat on the North Americans’ defence, but it was Andres Guardado feat in the Mexicans’ midfield that took pressure off his teammates.
Keshi introduced Austin Ejide at the break and the goalkeeper did as well as his predecessor to keep the game tied.
Both teams created some quality attacking chances after the hour mark and Raul Jimenez’s great strike went just wide of the net, following a brilliant save from Ejide.
Injuries and yellow cards slowed Nigeria’s pace in the closing stages of the game and, with four minutes left in the encounter, Nigeria tried to force out a goal from set piece, which went wide.
There were fewer chances in the second-half, after most of the familiar attacking threats from both sides were substitute by their coaches, but the essence of the day was far fetched as the time to name their final World Cup squads approaches.