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Nigeria, Iran stalemate leaves world unimpressed

17 June, 2014

CURITIBA: Nigeria and Iran became the first sides to draw their 2014 World Cup match as they played out a turgid 0-0 draw in Curitiba on Monday.

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In stark contrast to the attacking nature of the tournament so far, neither side showed much creativity and the final whistle was met by a cacophony of boos from the mainly Brazilian crowd.

However, their disenchantment didn't cut much ice with Iran coach Carlos Queiroz.

"I must praise my players, they more than deserved this draw," said the 61-year-old, who guided his native Portugal to the 2010 World Cup finals.

"The most important thing is that everything is now open to us."

After a bright start from Nigeria, it was Iran who forced the only meaningful save of the afternoon from Vincent Enyeama as the Lille goalkeeper parried Reza Ghoochannejad's headed effort.

A point apiece leaves both sides tied for second place in Group F with Argentina leading the way thanks to their 2-1 win over Bosnia and Hercegovina on Sunday.

Nigeria started by far the better of the two sides and had an effort on goal inside three minutes as Victor Moses' low shot was comfortably held by Alireza Haghighi.

The African champions had the ball in the net moments later, but Ahmed Musa was adjudged to have fouled Haghighi as they challenged for a high ball before Ogenyi Onazi slotted inches wide with Nigeria's best opening of the half.

The intensity from Nigeria then dropped as they were forced into a change midway through the half when former Everton defender Joseph Yobo replaced the injured Godfrey Oboabona.

Iran's only effort on goal in the opening 45 minutes produced the best stop of the game as Enyeama had to leap to his right to parry Charlton Athletic striker Reza's header to safety from a fine Ashkan Dejagah corner.

With no sign of a breakthrough coming early in the second-half, Nigeria boss Stephan Keshi introduced Newcastle United's Shola Ameobi for the ineffectual Moses.

However, Iran then went onto have their best spell in the game with Adranik Timotian firing wildly over when well-placed inside the area.

Nigeria ended the game with four strikers on the field in the search for a winner as Stoke City's Peter Odemwingie was also introduced.

End.


 
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