Arsenal starlet Alex Iwobi got his first international goal for Nigeria as they beat hosts Zambia in their first Group B match of the World Cup 2018 qualifiers in Ndola.
Nigeria’s two goals came in the first half as they dominated possession against Zambia. Nigeria could have scored a lot earlier than Iwobi’s 32nd minute effort, but the final ball was always wanting. The worst culprit was Moses Simon playing wide on the right for Nigeria. He failed to square the ball to a waiting Kelechi Iheanacho in the 27th minute after Zambian goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene had gone AWOL. Simon went for the more difficult option and blazed his effort over the bar.
Iwobi got his goal shortly afterwards volleying crisply after a poor Zambian clearance from a Nigerian long throw fell to him.
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10 minutes later Iheanacho made things comfortable for Nigeria, rounding the goalie and scoring from a tight angle after a superb one-two with Brown Ideye.
The second half saw Zambia increase the pressure on the away team and this paid off when Collins Mbesuma capitalised on a Kenneth Omeruo error to turn and beat Nigerian goalie Carl Ikeme with a low shot at his near post.
Once again, Ikeme stood out in goal in Nigeria, making about three world class saves that proved to be crucial as Nigeria held on to a much-needed win in what is surely the toughest of the Africa World Cup qualifying groups. Algeria and Cameroon make up the rest of the group.