Sun | Dec 5, 2021

Nigeria, Iran in first draw

Published:Tuesday | June 17, 2014 | 12:00 AM

CURITIBA, Brazil (AP):

Nigeria and Iran delivered the first draw of the World Cup yesterday as they ground out a scrappy 0-0 stalemate in their opening match in Group F.

The draw at the Arena da Baixada in the southern Brazilian city of Curitiba followed 12 mostly high scoring and attacking games.

After a first half in which Nigeria failed to capitalise on their dominance, chances were few and far between in the second.

In the early passages of play, Nigeria had shown menace, with much of their attacking thrust coming down the left with Emmanuel Emenike and Victor Moses combining to cause problems for the defensively-minded Iranian side.

Nigeria came closest to scoring in the seventh minute when an Ahmed Musa goal was disallowed after John Obi Mikel was adjudged to have fouled Iran goalkeeper Alireza Haghighi at a corner.

Iran more confident

Iran grew more confident as the game progressed and came close to scoring in the 34th minute when a Reza Ghoochannejhad header required a sharp save from Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.

In the second half, both sides were guilty of sloppy passages of play, to the growing annoyance of the mainly Brazilian crowd. Players from both sides snatched at chances and neither goalkeeper was troubled despite some frantic late pressure in the final minutes.

Both sides must now look to beat tournament debutant Bosnia-Herzegovina in a group that most expect to be won by Argentina. Lionel Messi scored one of the tournament's best goals in Argentina's 2-1 victory over the Bosnians on Sunday.

Iran coach Carlos Queiroz said the result was "fair" and that his players deserved "sympathy and respect" for performing on the biggest stage despite the impact of economic sanctions on the country - which made it difficult to arrange friendlies.