The Super Eagles of Nigeria delivered an underwhelming draw in the first leg of their FIFA World cup qualifier playoff tie against the Black Stars of Ghana. Despite all the talks about an improved squad, prospective debutants and encouraging training sessions, the Giants of Africa barey held on to the draw.
5 positives from Super Eagles draw against Ghana
"In every thing give thanks ; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 NKJV
During the Pulse Sports viewing party, our expert team of analysts and pundits dissected the faults in the Super Eagles tactics, laying bare the very foundation of why the team was unable to perform in Ghana.
With all the difficult conversations out of the way, it is time to pick out the few positives from the match.
1.) The Super Eagles had the finer defence
With ladies man Maduka Okoye out of this titanic clash, many Nigerians were left wondering who would take up the role of 'Prince Charming' in Austin Eguavoen's team.
For reasons best known to the technical crew and staff, the ever-dependable Kenneth Omeruo was missing from the starting line up, with Rangers centre back Leon Balogun preferred over the defender.
Seeing as the defence looked questionable for better parts of the second half, the only way to justify Omeruo's absence is to believe he was dropped to appease the ladies.
What William Troost-Ekong and Leon Balogun lack in defensive awareness, the duo more than make up for in good looks.
2.) Moment of magic by Frank Onyeka
Even though many fans feel the Super Eagles team ought to walk back to Nigeria for the return leg, one player that we can exempt from this punishment is Brentford man Frank Onyeka.
While the Super Eagles tried to recycle possession in the opposition penalty area, Onyeka executed a beautiful turn, removing two Ghanaian defenders from the equation in the process.
The eventual cross was disappointing but for that moment of magic, he has our respect.
3.) Jordan Ayew didn't score
At some point, the Super Eagles defence looked to be at its breaking point and the Black Stars missed a couple of good chances to snatch the lead.
As many feared that the worst could happen, it would have been far worse if Crystal Palace striker Jordan Ayew had been the one to sink Nigerian hearts.
The striker has scored a grand total of two goals in almost 60 premier league appearances since last season.
Ayew was one of the livelier Ghanaian players in the first half, catching the eye with his wandering runs. The striker has now failed to score for the Black stars since netting against the mighty Sao Tome and Principe during qualifications for AFCON 2021.
4.) Nigeria did not lose
The streets of twitter would have been silent as millions of Nigerians at home and in the diaspora would have no choice but to hide in shame had the Super Eagles lost the match.
Social media was flooded with confident Nigerians who had warned Ghanaians to be weary of the skills of Moses Simon and Samuel Chukwueze and the raw power of Victor Osimhen.
The banter even crossed into various areas from food, as the match was nicknamed the Jollof derby, to politics, with government officials been drawn into comments about the match.
5.) Premium Banter
Nigerians are creative people that make the best out of whatever situation they are in.
While the nation's FIFA World Cup ticket for 2022 is far from secure, Nigerians have turned to social media to share their frustration.
Here are some of the funniest reactions from the match:
The match is still very much in its balance and when the Black Stars come to Abuja for the return leg, they would surely be treated to an unforgettable experience. We believe Augustine Eguavoen and his team will go back to the drawing board and come out with a different plan in the second leg.
The Super Eagles will host the return leg of the match at the Moshood Abiola Stadium Abuja on March 29.