Sunday Oct 09, 2016. 16:37
Nigeria got their World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start after they defeated hosts Zambia 2-1 in Ndola Sunday.
It was Nigeria’s first-ever win in Zambia and the Chipolopolo's first loss at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola.
The Super Eagles took their chances in the first half with two goals, but after the interval Zambia fought back to pull a goal back, but it was too little, too late for the home side.
Watched by Zambian President Edgar Lungu, this was a physical contest played before a capacity crowd which really came alive when Arsenal youngster Iwobi put Nigeria in front from inside the box after poor defending by the home team.
Manchester City youngster Iheanacho then doubled the Eagles advantage in the 42nd
minute, when he was released by Mikel, he then rounded up goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, before slotting home by the near post.
Zambia pulled a goal back in the 70th
minute through star striker Collins Mbesuma, when he capitalised on a blunder inside the box by Kenneth Omeruo.
Between Nigeria’s goals in the first half, Zambia skipper Rainford Kalaba was denied an equaliser by the brilliant goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, who kept out a powerful, goal-bound header from the top of the six-yard box.
Both sides had chances earlier in this half to score.
As early as the third minute, Ikeme barely put out a dangerous Zambia cross for corner.
The lively Fwayo Tembo then tested Ikeme with a powerful shot from outside the box in the 23rd
Moses Simon also cashed in on a defensive slip in the 26th
minute to get into the box only to blast his effort into the stands from inside the vital area.
Goalkeeper Ikeme denied Zambia at least twice after the interval as the home team fought back gamely.
On the hour, the Wolverhampton Wanderers shot stopper blocked a shot by Kalaba after he dribbled past Ndidi.
And nine minutes later, Jackson Mwansa's header off a corner was shut out by Ikeme.
Zambia: Kennedy Mweene, Kabaso Chongo, Stopilla Sunzu, Adrian Chama (Kondwani Mtongo 48), Fackson Kapumbu – Nathan Sinkala, Fwayo Tembo (Roger Kola 81), Chisamba Lungu, Rainford Kalaba (skipper) – Collins Mbesuma, Winston Kalengo (Jackson Mwanza 56)
Nigeria: Carl Ikeme – Wilfred Ndidi, Elderson Echiejile, Kenneth Omeruo, William Troost-Ekong – Ogenyi Onazi (Shehu Abdullahi 90+2), Mikel Obi (captain) – Moses Simon (Ahmed Musa 83), Alex Iwobi, Kelechi Iheanacho – Brown Ideye (Anderson Esiti 73)
By Kola Daniel in Ndola, Zambia