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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Iwobi’s goal earns Eagles WCup spot

Nigeria’s Super Eagles have qualified for the upcoming 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia with game to spare against North African side Algeria.

The Eagles achieved the feat with a 1-0 win against the tough fighting Chipolopolo of Zambia in Saturday’s Group B qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo.

Substitute Alex Iwobi scored the match winner in the 73rd minute to hand the country their fifth World Cup appearance.

The Southern Africans actually lived up to their pre-match tough talking, but a flurry of misses at goal nearly saw the match slipping from their hands.

Nigeria’s forwards, Victor Moses, Odion Ighalo, Simon Moses and captain John Mikel Obi, all fluffed chances to get on the scoresheet.

The first half ended goalless with the Chipolopolo the better side as they troubled the Super Eagles’ defence with their pace in attack.

Zambia had the first chance at goal in the 15th minute but their danger man, Fashion Sakala, hit his effort wide.

In the 17th minute Odion Ighalo failed to link up with Moses Simon’s low cross.

Injury saw Ogenyi Onazi being substituted by Mikel Agu in the 30th minute.

Ighalo came close in the 44th minute to put Nigeria in front but shot wide from Moses's fine cross.

Another effort in the 44th minute, this time an acrobatic display by Simon in the box, went annoyingly wide.

Zambia then nearly grabbed the lead but Mwepu failed to beat Ezenwa in goal for Nigeria.

Kennedy Mweene made a superb save, palming away Wilfred Ndidi’s header from a Moses set-piece.

In the 67th minute a dangerous shot by the Zambians took a slight deflection and went away for a corner.

Ighalo came close again in the 71st minute but delayed too much, thereby wasting the good interchange of passes between Iwobi and Moses.

Iwobi was to break the deadlock in the 73rd minute to put Nigeria in front.

Ola Aina came in for injured Echiejile in the 79th minute to make his long awaited debut for Nigeria.

Other efforts by Iwobi to increase the goal tally were wasted.

Nigeria will round up their World Cup qualifying campaign with a dead rubber clash against Algeria next month.

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