The Super Eagles of Nigeria sealed their place for next year's World Cup as they pipped Zambia on Saturday at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, according to Premium Times. However, the Chipolopolo of Zambia dominated play in the opening 45 minutes and went on to create goal scoring chances but couldn't convert any of them. Nigeria consistently lost possession to Zambia but had some promising chances in front of goal. Gernot Rohr's side had to break the deadlock in the seventy-third minute when substitute Alex Iwobi struck home the lead from close range and ultimately booked Nigeria's place in next summer's World Cup in Russia.

With this victory, Nigeria became the first African side to secure qualification for the World Cup. The win put Nigeria on an unassailable 13 points at the top of Group B, while Zambia is second with seven points. Here are the three things observed in the match.

Zambia controlled the game in the first half

Wedson Nyirenda's side dominated possession, especially in the second half. They apparently gained control of the center midfield and distributed several defense-splitting passes. The Zambians were focused on earning at least a point against Nigeria as it would have helped them boost their chance of qualifying. Zambia almost got the opener in the thirty-sixth minute when striker Alex Ngonga drove in a shot but was obstructed by Nigeria goalie Okechukwu Ezenwa.

Nigeria wasted their own chances

The Super Eagles of Nigeria often lost possession to Zambia but still managed to create some goal-bound opportunities. However, they squandered all of their chances they had. It was Moses Simon, Victor Moses, John Mikel Obi and Odion Ighalo that went close for the home team but failed to find the back of the net.

Alex Iwobi saved the Nigeria

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi was the hero for Nigeria. Immediately Iwobi was introduced into the game in the second half, he apparently brought life to the team. Iwobi's passes were what Nigeria needed to push offensively, and in the process, they had a clear chance at Zambia's half when Leicester City's Wilfred Ndidi powered in a fine header off John Obi Mikel's cross but was saved by the strong hands of Zambia goalie Kennedy Mwenne.

Iwobi's late goal was all Nigeria needed to book their passage to Russia 2018. He was not just the Man of the match but a national hero for the country.

Group B last fixtures

In their last matches in the group, Nigeria will face Algeria on the road on November 6 Monday. The same day, Zambia will lock horns with Cameroon at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium, Ndola.