The Super Eagles of Nigeria sealed qualification for the 2018 World Cup after beating Zambia 1-0 at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo on Saturday, October 7, 2017.
Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi came on from the bench to score the all-important goal in the 73rd minute after an evenly-matched contest between both teams.
The first half of the game was a subdued affair, but both teams had quite a few chances to score the opener.
Odion Ighalo and Moses Simon had good opportunities to put the ball past Zambian goalkeeper, Kennedy Mweene, but their attempts found the spectators in the stands instead.
Zambian striker Alex Ngonga wasted the first half’s best chance when he lobbed his attempt too high after outmuscling Nigerian centreback, William Troost-Ekong, to get a one-on-one chance against goalkeeper,Ikechukwu Ezenwa.
Despite their best attempts, both teams headed back to the dressing room at the end of the first half with a 0-0 score line.
With chances few and far between for both teams in the second half, Iwobi scored the winning goal from a pin point cross fromShehu Abdullahi.
The victory makes Nigeria the first African team to qualify for next year’s finals in Russia with 13 points, five more than Zambia who are second in their qualifying group.
The showcase in Russia next year will be Nigeria’s sixth time of participating in the World Cup finals.