2026 World Cup Qualifiers: Super Eagles play disappointing draw with South Africa in Uyo

Super Eagles fans

The Super Eagles could only manage to play a 1-1 draw with South Africa in their 2026 FIFA World Cup Group C qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium in Uyo on Friday night.

The game was a must-win for both sides after Benin beat Rwanda on Thursday and minnows Lesotho saw off Zimbabwe earlier on Friday.

Southampton loanee Paul Onuachu had the first opportunity of the match in the third minute but his header went over the bar.

South Africa’s first opportunity arrived in the 17th minute when Themba Zwane’s freekick hit the woodwork.

The Mamelodi Sundowns forward would go on to break the deadlock 12 minutes later, receiving a brilliant pass from Kamohelo Sithole before evading Nigerian three players and blasting the ball past a helpless Stanley Nwabali between the sticks.

Elias Mokwana came close in the 39th minute but his effort went for the side netting. Onuachu tried another header from close range before the halftime break but Ronwen Williams saved.

Fisayo Dele-Bashiru equalised for the Super Eagles at the start of the second half with a clinical goal off an Alex Iwobi assist. The Hatayspor midfielder however went down in discomfort towards the hour mark after a heavy challenge from a South African player which ultimately led to his substitution, with Alhassan Yusuf taking his place.

The Super Eagles pushed hard for the winner in the closing 20 minutes, Osayi-Samuel first shooting the ball into the hand of South Africa number-one Williams before AC Milan winger Samuel Chukwueze’s fierce strike crashed off the crossbar.

Europa League champion Ademola Lookman attempted a shot in added time but Williams reacted swiftly to keep it out. OGC Nice forward Terem Moffi also missed an opportunity to put the ball into the back of the net.

The result means the Super Eagles remain second from bottom in Group C, two points behind leaders Lesotho while South Africa are one point ahead in fourth place.

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