Nigeria, Greece play out goalless draw

by Andrew Randa

Nigeria and Greece played out a goalless draw in a World Cup warm-up match at the PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

This will be the second successive draw for both countries as Nigeria drew 2-2 with Scotland and Greece held Portugal to a goalless draw last Wednesday in warm-up friendlies.

Nigeria head coach Stephen Keshi, having named his final World Cup squad a day earlier, restored 10 players who did not start the Scotland friendly into the fray from the beginning, as the Super Eagles continued the preparation for Brazil 2014.

Greece started brighter and were quick off the blocks as early as the third minute when Genoa midfielder, Ioannis Fertfazidis effort went over as Greece signalled their intent from the start.

Osaze Odemwingie's speculative effort in the 14th minute was as all Nigeria could muster in the opening exchanges as the Greeks looked to be on top.

Giorgios Karagounis let fly from all of 35 yards as Greece threatened again. Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama was on top of his game to thwart the Greek advances.

Victor Moses was proving to be the bright spark in a struggling Nigerian performance as his pace and trickery caused havoc in the Greek defence.

Enyeama saved Nigeria's blushes with a great save after a swift move by the Greeks lead by the impressive Fertfazidis

Ogenyi Onazi and Ahmed Musa tried long range efforts in bid to get Nigeria into the game but the Greek goalkeeper kept them at bay.

Greece probed further as Fertfazidis rode three challenges from Nigerian defenders but couldn't make his effort count as Greece began to get a hold of the game.

Super Eagles defender Elderson Echiejile was forced off the field with what looked like a hamstring injury and was replaced by Kunle Odunlami as Greece closed the half impressively.

Nigeria made two changes at the start of the second half as Michael Uchebo came in for Ahmed Musa and Joseph Yobo came in for Godfrey Oboabona.

The changes seemed to re-invigorate the Nigerians as they took the game to the Greeks with Moses causing all sorts of problems from the left channel and Uchebo using his physique to great effect.

Moses had a shot saved by the Greek goalkeeper Kapino and he continued to prove a handful for the Greek defenders while substitute Kone also had a sight of the Nigerian goal in the 65th minute but shot wide.

Nigeria created an opening in the 69th minute after a clever interchange of passes between Uchebo and Mikel but Babatunde could not keep his shot low as he blazed wide.

Greece had a great opportunity to score in the 81st minute after a quick counter as Dimitris Salpingidis shot was parried by Enyeama but Giorgios Samaras could not score from the rebound.

Onazi's shot in the 86th minute drew a smart save from Kapino and Efe Ambrose headed wide from a free kick after Moses was upended at the edge of the Greek 18 yard box.

Nigeria nearly nicked it at the end of the game as John Obi Mikel waltzed his way past a couple of defenders and Moses could not connect his lay off properly.

Though Nigeria attacked relentlessly as the game wore down, there was no way to break the Greek defence as the Super Eagles played their second successive draw in a week.

Nigeria will take on the United States in Jacksonville on Saturday as they continue their preparations ahead of the June 16 Group F clash with Iran.

Nigeria line up: Enyeama, Ambrose, Echiejile (Odunlami), Omeruo, Oboabona (Yobo), Onazi, Mikel, Odemwingie (Babatunde), Musa (Uchebo), Moses, Emenike (Nwofor)

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