Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets have qualified for the Fifa World Cup in Chile next September after a 3-1 spanking of the Young Chipolopolo of Zambia at the Stade Municipal in Niamey on Saturday.
Leading the group going into match day three, the Eaglets came off the block quite early troubling the Zambia defence in the opening exchanges with Kelechi Nwakali’s effort in the seventh minute narrowly going wide.
Zambia responded immediately as Mwepu’s effort was smothered by Akpan Udoh in the Nigerian goal after the Zambian found space in the Nigerian box.
Suleiman Abdullahi missed a clear cut chance in the 14th minute to score when he couldn’t supply the finish after rounding up Zambian goalkeeper Daniel Sinkayinka.
Victor Osimhen was proving a difficult customer for the Zambian side and he got Nigeria’s go-ahead goal after a beautiful set-up by Nwakali and the impressive Suleiman Abdullahi.
Nwakali dispossessed a Zambian midfielder in the middle and fed Suleiman down the right flank and the midfielder squared the ball back for Osimhen who had arrived in the Zambian box to tap home.
Osimhen had the chance to make it 2-0 for Nigeria when he was put through by Nwakali but couldn’t beat Sinkayinka when he had only the keeper to beat.
The Eaglets got their second goal through Kelechi Nwakali who made it 2-0 for Nigeria in added time of the first half with a well struck shot from 25 yards that dipped into the net off the cross bar.
Victor Osimhen was the man again as he put Nigeria 3-0 up in the 48th minute with a fantastic shot from the edge of the box which left Zambian goalkeeper Daniel Sikanyika for dead.
The Eaglets kept pounding the Zambian goal but poor decision-making from Suleiman Abdullahi and Victor Osimhen denied the Eaglets more goal.
It looked as if Zambia would claw their way back into the game when a defensive mistake allowed Zambia skipper Patson Daka to score for Zambia in the 61st minute.
Profligacy didn’t allow the Eaglets to add to their tally as Nwakali, Suleiman and Osimhen all contrived to miss easy chances as the game ended with the Eaglets picking the win and a place in the semifinals.
Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets topped Group A with seven points from three matches as Guinea, who finished second, will join Nigeria in the semi-finals with a ticket to Chile 2015 in the bag.