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Iwobi, Iheanacho score as Nigeria triumph

09 October 2016, 17:27

Johannesburg - Nigeria opened their 2018 World Cup group-phase qualifying campaign with a 2-1 victory in Zambia on Sunday thanks to goals from English Premier League duo Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho

The 20-year-old strikers scored in the opening half before a capacity 40 000 crowd at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in central city Ndola that included President Edgar Lungu.

Zambia dominated the second half and veteran striker Collins Mbesuma set up a tense finish by halving the deficit 19 minutes from time.

But an equaliser eluded the Chipolopolo (Copper Bullets), who are seeking a first World Cup appearance while the Super Eagles have already been to the finals five times.

The teams are in Group B, labelled the 'group of death' as it contains three 2014 World Cup qualifiers in Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria.

Algeria host record seven-time African qualifiers Cameroon later on Sunday in Blida, a venue where the North African Desert Foxes are virtually invincible.

Iwobi of Arsenal pounced on a weak headed clearance to slam the ball past goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene from close range on 32 minutes.

Neat one-touch passing set Iheanacho of Manchester City free 10 minutes later and he rounded Mweene before calmly pushing the ball into the net.

A blunder from Nigeria defender Kenneth Omeruo allowed Mbesuma to score by firing past impressive goalkeeper Carl Ikeme from inside the penalty area.

Seven matches into the African group phase, Nigeria are the only country to win away after three home victories and three draws.



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