Sports

Breaking: Nigeria Qualify for 2018 World Cup

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Nigeria have booked a spot at the 2018 World Cup after beating Zambia 1-0 in a keenly contested match at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo on Saturday.

It’s a sixth World Cup appearance for the Super Eagles, who join hosts Russia, defending champions Germany, five-time winners Brazil and 9 others to already qualify for the Mundial.

The victory gave the Eagles an unassailable six points lead in CAF qualifying Group B, eliminating the Chipolopolo of Zambia who needed a win to take the qualifiers to the final matchday.

Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda said pre-match that they’d come to pick all three points and true to his word, his young side matched the Eagles for long spells of the end-to-end tie in Uyo.

After a tight opening, Fashion Sinkala found space in the Eagles area after 10 minutes only to see his left-footed drive sail harmlessly wide.

Nigeria responded with the clearest chance of the opening half after Moses Simon’s square pass from the right was narrowly missed by a lounging Odion Ighalo.

Eagles goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa was at full stretch to deny Augustine Mulenga’s 30-yard drive, while Ighalo blasted wide from inside the area after good work from Victor Moses at the other end. The Eagles lost some of the edge in the midfield, particularly after the injury to Ogenyi Onazi.

It was largely a scrimmage in the second period until substitute Alex Iwobi fired in Shehu Abdullahi’s cut-back to send the home fans into raptures.

Zambia responded with a number of half chances late on, but the Eagles held firm for the priceless three points and a place among football elites next summer.

Emmanuel Offor

An avid sports fan who is also hooked on movies, music and books. Basically, I PLAYpen & PUNCHlines

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