The Zambia vs Nigeria 2016 world cup qualifying match, has ended with the Super Eagles of Nigeria beating their Chipolopolo counterparts by 2 goals to 1.The match towards the last 30 minutes became unbearable for me as a Super Eagles fan and i found myself going to the toilet various times to ease the tension.
But this undoubtedly was a match that lived up to expectations from the first match in Group B known as the group of death.
The Nigerians took the lead with Arsenal's Alex Iwobi putting them in the lead in the 33rd minute with a well taken half volley.
His premier league colleague Kelechi Iheanacho inevitably scored the second in the 43rd minute with a beautiful goal that ahd pace ,strength,skill and composure written all over it.
Kelechi took on the Zambian goalkeeper and three players on the line could not stop the ball from finding the net.
The Super Eagles of Nigeria were very comfortable in the 1st half and looked solid in
defence.Goalkeeper Ikeme in particular had a solid game and made several fine saves.
But in the second half,the Zambians had no choice,they had to come out attacking fully and this they did,thereby putting the Nigerian team under pressure many times.
Zambia’s Mbesuma in the 70th minute was like a bulldog fighting for a lost cause and was rewarded when he held off the Nigerian defender and fired a crisp low drive shot past Nigerian goalkeeper Ikeme to set up a tense finish to the game.
But the Super Eagles survived the game and claimed the first three points in Group B which features Algeria and Cameroon.All sworn enemies of Nigeria.
Below is an extensive report on the key moments in the game courtesy of Naij.com...
90+3′ FT: Zambia 1 – 2 Nigeria. The Super Eagles go top of Group B with 3 points. 92′ Nigeria Sub! Shehu Abdullahi IN, Ogenyi Onazi OUT 90′ Three minutes of added time to be played.
Tensed moments at the Levy Nwanawasa Stadium in Ndola. 88′ Yellow card! Mikel is booked for kicking the ball away. Seconds after, Kalaba shoots wide.
85′ CHANCE! Musa cuts in and curls one in but goalkeeper Mweene parries away. Nice attempt! 82′ Double Sub! Zambia! Kola IN, Tembo OUT.
Nigeria! Musa IN, Moses OUT 80′ We are into the final ten minutes of the game. Nigeria are sitting deep and trying to soak the pressure the Zambians are throwing at them.
75′ The Zambia fans are cheering their team to get a second goal. Are we going to see another goal in this game? 72′ Substitution Nigeria! Ideye OUT, Esiti IN
70′ GOALLLL! Mbesuma pulls one back for Zambia from close range after Omeruo fumbled a header. Game on!
68′ BIG CHANCE’ Ikeme makes a fine save to deny Mwanza from close range.
64′ Omeruo collides with Troost-Ekong and the latter drops down in the box with his hands on his face but he immediately picks himself up and action continues.
60′ BIG CHANCE! Again Ikeme saves from Kalaba after Zambia danger man did well to beat Ndidi in the left hand flank.
59′ BIG CHANCE! Mikel produces a spectacular volley from long range but goalkeeper Mweene saves well. What a chance!
57′ So close! A ball from the right flank almost drops kindly for Tembo but he is inches away and ball rolls out of play.
56′ CHANCE! Nice exchange of passes between Iheanacho and Iwobi but the latter’s shot is well saved by Mweene.
55′ HALF CHANCE! Mbesuma weak shot on target is easily picked up by Ikeme.
53′ Game starting to get very physical as we see some strong tackles from both teams.
48′ Substitution! Zambia make their first change. Mtonga IN, Chama OUT.
46′ Zambia get the second half underway. Can they find a way back into this game?
45+1′ HALF TIME: Zambia 0 – 2 Nigeria 45′ One minute of added time to be played in the first half.
43′ GOALLLLL! Iheanacho scores a beauty. He rounds goalkeeper Mweene after played through on goal, before cooling slotting home from a tight corner with three Zambians on the line. What a goal!
39′ WHAT A SAVE! Ikeme produces a fine save to keep out Kalaba’s goal bound header from six yards. From the rebound, the Zambian skipper is booked for diving.
35′ HALF CHANCE! Iheanacho shoots wide after being picked out by Mikel.
33′ GOALLLL! Iwobi volleys into the net after dreadful defending from the Zambians. 31′ A mix up in Nigeria midfield allows Zambia break away but Kalaba’s attempt is off target.
26′ BIG CHANCE! Moses Simon, who has had a bright start to this game does well to beat his marker at the left flank. But his effort goes well over the bar with the goal at his mercy. The Nigerian bench is furious because they felt he could have passed the ball to a better placed Ideye.
23′ CHANCE! Zambian’s no 10 man Tembo cuts inside and shoots but Ikeme gathers easily. Nice attempt!
18′ HALF CHANCE’ Zambia break away at the left flank and ball finds Mbesuma in the box. However, the big striker’s decides to pass when he could have made an attempt on goal and the chance goes begging.
15′ WHAT A MISS! Iwobi picks out Ideye with a brilliant pass but the Olympiacos striker shoots wide from close range. However, the linesman saves Ideye’s blushes as his flag his up for an offside call.
11′ HALF CHANCE’ Zambia’s skipper Kalaba tries a shot from long range but Ikeme gathers easily. Both teams beginning to settle down.
8′ Again Moses Simon’s set-piece troubles the Zambia defense but the ball is scrambled away for safety. Bright start from the Super Eagles.
5′ HALF CHANCE! Moses Simon tests goalkeeper Mweene from a freekick but the keeper is up to the task and pushes out for a corner. From the resulting corner, Zambia clear their lines.
3′ WOODWORK! Zambia! Tembo’s cross at the right flank looks to be going in but goalkeeper Ikeme’s touch pushes it unto the top of the cross bar as it goes out for a corner. The Nigeria keeper could have done better there.
3′ A big scare for the host as Zambia loses the ball in their half but Moses Simon’s first touch lets him down and goalkeeper Mweene easily gathers.
1′ Nigeria get this World cup qualifier underway.
The Eagles are on their traditional white jersey while the host Zambia have their traditional green jersey.
Starting Line ups Nigeria: 1 Ikeme Carl Onora 3 Elderson Echiejire 4 Kenneth Josiah Omeruo 5 William Paul Ekong 8 Brown Ideye 10 John Obi Mikel 11 Moses Daddy Simon 15 Kelechi Promise Iheanacho 17 Ogenyi Eddy Onazi 18 Alexander Chuka Iwobi 21 Onyinye Wilfred Ndidi Substitutes: 2 Mohammed Musa 6 Uche Henry Agbo 7 Ahmed Musa 9 Godwin Obaje 12 Abdullah Shehu 13 Chisom Charles Egbuchunam 15 Kingsley Madu 16 Ikechukwu Vincent Ezenwa 19 Anderson Esiti 20 Jamiu Alimi Nosakhare Emmanue Igiebor 23 Emmanuel Shinkut Daniel Coach: Gernot Rohr
Zambia: 16 Kennedy Mweene 12 Kabaso Chongo 3 Fackson Kapumbu 4 Adrian Chama 13 Stopilla Sunzu 19 Nathan Sinkala 17 Rainford Kalaba 10 Fwayo Tembo 11 Chisamba Lungu 9 Collins Mbesuma 8 Winston Kalengo Substitutes: 1 Jacob Banda 7 Clatous Chama 5 George Chilufya Ziyo Tembo 21 Misheck Chaila 6 Simon Silwimba 18 Rodgers Kola 14 Jackson Mwanza 15 Kondwani Mtonga Coach: Wedson Nyirenda