By Damilola Faustino
Every seat in the stadium was taken. The fans and players were ready. They knew that they needed a win to qualify for Russia 2018. But the Zambians came prepared for the match.
They gave the Super Eagles a run for their money in the 1st half as the Chipolopolo were determined to thwart team’s qualification hopes. It was a very high tempo and a difficult first half that got nearly every Nigerian on the edge.
In the second half, chances upon chances were missed and schoolboy errors were made. Not satisfied with the way the match was going, Gernot Rohr had to do something. He brought in Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi for Moses Simon in the 66th minute and this changed made a huge difference as he blasted home from a pullback by Shehu Abdullahi to secure qualification for Nigeria. Like a bomb, fans exploded, That single calmed the nerves of many Nigerians. They knew that there will be no need to bring out the calculator this time.
As such, the Super Eagles became the first African team to advance to Russia after taking an unassailable lead at the top Group B. Nigeria qualified with 13 points and will make their sixth World Cup finals appearance in 2019 with a match against Algeria to spare. The will be played on November 6th.
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