Nigeria fail to impress in first warm-up match

WATTENS - Nigeria began their World Cup preparations with an error-strewn and uncoordinated 0-0 draw with Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in a match they were fortunate not to lose in coach Lars Lagerback's debut.

The new coach, who has had his players together for less than a week, turned out a side of more probables than possibles in the alpine village of Wattens in front of a small crowd of some 3,000.

Veteran Nwankwo Kanu captained the side but was among six players changed in the second half as Lagerback, who was appointed to the post in February, ran his eye over players on the fringe of the final squad.

Nigeria could only muster a few long-range efforts in the second half but did have one good opportunity just before the break when a powerful run from Everton's Victor Anichebe and a subsequent square pass should have been tucked away by Kalu Uche.

Saudi Arabia could have won the game in the 71st minute when a clever ball from Ahmed Mohamed Al Fraidi put Abdelaziz Said Al Dawsari through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat, but he dragged the ball wide.

They had several other legitimate attempts on goal as they finished the stronger of the two teams.

Nigeria head to London on Wednesday to resume their preparations, including a match against Colombia on May 30 at Luton Town's Kenilworth Road.

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