Chelsea FC midfielders John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses and defender Kenneth Omeruo stuttered to a goalless draw against World Cup minnows Iran in their opener. The Nigerians controlled the tempo for much of the game but simply could not find a breakthrough against a stubborn Iran defense. They had the majority of the possession as well but the best chance of the first half fell to Iran when Reza Ghoochanneijhad forced a fine save from Vincent Enyeama after a header from close-range.
Kenneth Omeruo put in a fine shift and kept a clean sheet but that was an easy task against an unadventurous Iran side. Omeruo would have also had a goal in the seventh minute but the referee had whistled the play after a John Obi Mikel foul on the keeper. The decision was controversial at best and on another day a different referee may have let the goal stand.
Victor Moses was disappointing throughout and he set the tone early for his performance with a tame shot in the third minute of the match. After just 52 minutes Moses was brought off by struggling Newcastle striker Shola Ameobi who labored to make any clear cut chances. It was typical of Moses to be brought off early as he has yet to make much of an impact in any matches when he was on loan at Liverpool.
John Obi Mikel had a slightly better performance than his Chelsea midfield counterpart and helped control the midfield for the Super Eagles. He was the most fouled player on the pitch for Nigeria but also committed the most fouls showing his impact on both sides of the match. Nigeria brought on Stoke City forward Peter Odemwingie for one last push at a goal but the Iranian defense was too compact to break down.
Nigeria had a great chance at joining Argentina at the top of the group to give themselves an advantage going in to the match against Bosnia but they failed to take advantage. They now sit above Bosnia but only by a point and will face a tough test to advance when they play Argentina in the group’s final match day.
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