Nigeria and Mali play 0-0 draw

Mali eye a quarter-finals spot while Nigeria face an early exit from Group B.

    The Nigeria versus Mali match was a tight affair, with neither side willing to risk losing [Reuters]
    "We played well but we have not been lucky with scoring," said Mikel, who was named man-of-the-match.
     
    "However, we are still in there with a chance.
     

    "We played well but we have not been lucky with scoring."

    John Obi Mikel,
    Nigeria midfielder

    "We just have to wait and see what happens in the last round of matches in our group."
     
    The Eagles started out by delivering long balls behind the Malian defence in search of strikers Martins and Yakubu, who used their size and power to good effect.
     
    The first shot fired in anger was in the 16th minute when Martins struck from the top of the box only to see goalkeeper Mahamadou make a comfortable save.
     
    Soon after, Yakubu, set up by Odemwingie, also fired along the ground but again Sidibe saved easily.
     
    Tough midfield battle
     
    Mali paraded a top-class midfield that included Mahamadou Diarra, Seydou Keita and Mohammed Sisoko but Nigeria's Chelsea ace Mikel along with Wolves midfielder Seyi Olofinjana held their own in the engine room.
     
    However, Olofinjana will miss Nigeria's next group game against Benin after he was booked for the second time in the competition in the 37th minute for a late tackle on Seydou Keita.
     
    Mali skipper Diarra will also miss his team's next game after a rough tackle on Ikechukwu Uche in the dying minutes of the encounter.
     
    Mali could have snatched victory with seven minutes to go when Keita hit the woodwork with a thunderous drive.
     
    Keita's effort from 20 yards grazed the crossbar with Ejide well beaten.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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