Nigeria made sure of top place in their FIFA World Cup™ qualifying group as they beat Equatorial Guinea 2-0 in Abuja on Saturday to advance to the final phase of the African preliminaries. Goals from striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni and substitute Ike Uche ensured Nigeria maintained their 100 percent record in the African zone Group Four campaign.
They now have 12 points from their marathon run of four matches in as many weeks, out of reach of second-placed South Africa and Sierra Leone, who have four each with two matches left to play.
Nigeria failed to make their superiority pay as they controlled the opening half but broke the deadlock on the stroke of halftime when Aiyegbeni tapped in a square pass from Peter Odemwingie.
Spanish-based Uche, who came on for Aiyegbeni with 10 minutes left, made an immediate impact to add the second in the 84th minute, setting off on a jinxing run before thumping home a shot.
Equatorial Guinea, who have now lost three qualifiers in a row, had a chance to pull a goal back near the end but substitute Juan Epitie missed a free header from a corner.
Nigeria are the first of 12 group winners to go through to the next phase. They will be joined by the eight best placed runners up in a draw of 20 teams for the final phase, which starts in November.