The Super Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the 2018 World Cup after a 1-0 win over Zambia on Saturday, October 7, at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo.
Arsenal star Alex Iwobi scored in the 73rd minute few minutes after coming in to give Nigeria all three points that take them to 13 points on the log and against the reach of Zambia who have 7 points.
The victory means Nigeria last game in the group against Algeria will be just for mere formality as the Super Eagles have booked their place in Russia and will be making their sixth appearance at the tournament.
90+3: FULL TIME: Nigeria 1 - 0 Zambia. The Super Eagles of Nigeria have qualified for the 2018 World Cup. It is celebration all the way in Uyo.
90+3' Half chance! Wilfred Ndidi fires wide after been set up by Moses. He seems to have picked up a hamstring as he stretched out.
90+1' Three minutes of added time and yellow card to Chigangdu for a foul on Troost-Ekong.
90' BIG CHANCE! Ola Aina crosses well into the box but Moses can't find the final touch to slot home. So close!
89' Into the final minute of regular time. Nigeria are on the brink of their sixth World Cup appearance.
85' CHANCE! Nice build up play from Nigeria. Mikel picks out Iwobi who finds Moses but his strike flies high over the bar.
84' OFFSIDE! A brilliant ball from Mikel picks out Iwobi but the linesman flag is up for offside.
81' SUB for Nigeria! Echiejile OUT, Ola Aina IN. The Chelsea loanee makes his debut for Nigeria.
77' The fans are loving Alex Iwobi and chanting his name. He has really changed the game for Nigeria.
75' MORE ON THE GOAL! Victor Moses does well to find Shehu Abdullahi on the right flank who crosses for Iwobi to side-foot home. A very good goal. It was his second international goal for Nigeria.
71' WHAT A CHANCE! Nigeria counter after a corner kick from Zambia. Iwobi does well to keep the ball in and drive forward. He waits for support which he gets from Moses, and releases the pass, Moses spreads it to Ighalo who is in a good position to strike but he delays his effort and he is dispossessed.
68' A corner is taken for Zambia but the ball rolls out of play for a Nigeria throw-in.
64' YELLOW CARD! Shehu Abdullahi booked for a foul on Mwepu. He becomes the second Nigerian player to be booked in this game.
62' Echiejile with an awful cross to the disgust of the fans. Nigeria not getting their moves right.
58' Victor Moses swings in another corner but it is easily dealt with. His deliveries and final balls have been poor.
57' BIG CHANCE! Ndidi with a powerful header from a set-piece but Mweene does well to keep out as the ball looked to be making his way into the net. WHAT A CHANCE!
54' Shehu Abdullahi is cautioned for a silly tackle. He is really lucky not to be booked.
47' HALF CHANCE! Moses with a deep cross which is met by Leon Balogun but his header is too weak to beat Mweene.
46' Zambia get the second half underway. It is down to another 45 minutes.
45+2' HALF TIME: Nigeria 0-0 Zambia. It was a very exciting and action packed first half but also tension soaked.
45' CHANCE! Ighalo does his trademark Iggy chop to beat his marker, he crosses down the right, but Moses Simon can't keep his acrobatic shot down and it goes over for a goal kick. He gets a thumbs up from his captain Mikel for his effort.
43' CHANCE! Moses picks out Ighalo after a great run but the striker hurriedly takes a shot which sails high as he is being closed down.
37' WOOD WORK! N'gonga's shot is parried onto the post by Ezenwa and rolls out for a corner. From the corner, Nigeria clear their lines. That was so close!
35' YELLOW CARD' Newly introduced Mikel Agu is booked for a silly foul. He needs to keep his head down.
33' Mikel drives forward and his clipped in a dangerous position but the Referee waves play on to the disgust of the fans in Uyo.
31' BIG CHANCE! Mulenga with an opportunity after bullying Balogun to the ball but he fires well over the ball. Still Nigeria 0 - 0 Zambia.
31' CHANCE! Nigeria have their first shot on target as Moses Simon cuts in and fires low to Mweena's right but the experienced goalkeeper was up to the task.
25' Rohr looking troubled as Onazi is stretched out of the pitch due to an injury. It does not look like he is going to continue this game.
23' OFFSIDE! Zambia have the ball in the back of the net but the linesman flag is up for offside. It was a very close call as Mulenga slotted home.
19' Victor Moses who has been Nigeria's best player on the field so far wins a corner kick. He takes it but Zambia clear their lines.
17' WHAT A CHANCE! Moses with a brilliant cross in the right flank but Ighalo fails to make contact from the six yard box. He was slow to react. Big chance gone begging for Nigeria.
15' HALF CHANCE! Zambia with their first shot on goal. Fashion Sakala fires wide after Nigeria gave away the ball. The Zambia no 10 had options in the box but decided to go all on his own.
13' Mtonga shows brilliant skills to beat Leon Balogun in the right flank but his cross is too deep and causes no danger for Ezenwa in goal for Nigeria.
9' Zambia struggle to deal with a long throw from Nigeria's Wilfred Ndidi. However, the Chipolopolo stars finally deal with the danger with Mikel lurking in the six yard box to pounce on any mistake.
6' Moses Simon does well to win a corner kick for Nigeria. From the resulting set-piece Mweene gathers easily from a Victor Moses cross. Both teams playing with so much caution.
2' HALF CHANCE! Shehu crosses from the right but Mweene gathers easily for Zambia as Ighalo was getting ready to pounce on the loose ball.
1' Nigeria get this World Cup qualifier underway. The Super Eagles are on their traditional green jersey while the Zambians have their orange and red away jersey on.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria, who are just one win away from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, face the Chipolopolo stars of Zambia on Saturday, October 7, at the Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo.
Nigeria got off to a bright start in their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign on October 9 last year when they defeated Zambia 2-1 to pick up their first ever away win against the Chipolopolo stars in a competitive game.
The Super Eagles thereafter went on to maintain their unbeaten run in the qualifying series but face a tough test today against the Zambians who are just three points behind them in Group B.
There have been 18 matches in all between both teams at the senior level with the Super Eagles winning seven, Zambia winning five, and both countries playing draws in six different occasions.
Zambia last tasted victory against Nigeria in a competitive football match at senior level 32 years ago. However, the team will be relying on the experience of Mamelodi Sundowns’ Kennedy Mweene, and the finishing ability of young striker Patson Daka to beat the Super Eagles in their own backyard.
For the Super Eagles, they will hope to fly with the red-hot form of Victor Moses, Alex Iwobi and the experience of John Obi Mikel.
The Godswill Akpabio stadium in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital, will be the grand setting for these two power houses in African football and NAIJ.com is on ground to bring you minute-by-minute account of the encounter. Kick-off time is 5pm Nigerian time.