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Nigeria in tame draw

2014-06-04 09:19
Nigeria (Supplied)

Cape Town - Nigeria were held by Greece to a goalless draw in a pre-Soccer World Cup friendly Tuesday night at the home of the MLS Philadelphia Union.

There were few scoring chances in one of the final tuneups for the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil, which begins in eight days' time. The best opportunity came for Greece in the 83rd minute when Giorgios Samaras had a shot blocked from 10 yards and Dimitris Salpingidis followed up with a header that missed.

Nigeria countered in the 87th minute when Ogenyi Onazi fired a shot from 25 yards that was saved by goalkeeper Stefanos Kapino.

Greece's 37 year old captain midfielder Giorgos Karagounis, played the entire first half, much to the delight of the large contingent of Greek fans in the stadium donning his famous No. 10 jersey.

"I think we managed to give the Greek people pleasure to see the Greek national team prepare for Brazil," Greece coach Fernando Santos said. "It's why we made these tests. It was difficult for us because we had a very long trip from Portugal. We were jet-lagged. It was a little bit difficult for us today."

For Greece, it was the second of three exhibition games over a six-day span, so a number of regular starters were given extra rest. The series of games started with a scoreless draw against Portugal on Saturday and will end Friday against Bolivia.

"I think we played better today," Santos said, referring to the last two games. "This is part of the progression we want to see from all the players."

Nigeria played a 2-2 draw against Scotland last week and traveled here for this Soccer World Cup international friendly.

"We were not able to keep our ball possession like we did for the last 12 to 15 minutes," Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi said. "We'll see how it goes in the next game."

The next friendly for Nigeria will come against the United States on Saturday in Florida.

"It's going to be a really good test," Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo said. "It will be an exciting game and hopefully, we can raise our performance."

Greece will be in Group C at the World Cup along with Colombia, Ivory Coast and Japan.

Nigeria will be headed to Group F with Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina and Iran.

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