Alex Iwobi 74′ goal gave the Super Eagles of Nigeria a 1 – 0 win over Chipolopolo of Zambia at the Goodwill Akpabio stadium in Uyo and a place at next year’s World Cup.
In a tension soaked encounter with few chances, it was the Arsenal forward who stepped up to the occasion to secure his nation’s place in their sixth Mundial.
Iwobi replaced Moses Simon in the 66th minute and got the job done after just eight minutes on the pitch.
The Chipolopolo of Zambia showed lots of courage, coming close on several occasions.
With Nigeria’s quest worsened by Ogenyi Onazi’s injury in the first and replacement Mikel Agu failing to rise to the occasion.
But it turned out that it was meant to be Nigeria’s day.
A solitary tactical tweak from Coach Gernot Rohr, bringing in Iwobi, was enough to seal an historic win for his team.
The strike was the 21-year-old’s second against the visitors, having scored in the reverse fixture last year.
Nigeria thus becomes the first African nation to book a ticket to Russia with one game to spare.
In the dead rubber clash played simultaneously in Yaoundé, Cameroon defeated Algeria 2-0 with both teams crashing out of the World Cup race before the ball was kicked.