Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice as Nigeria beat Liberia 2-0 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Lagos on Friday to clinch victory in their opening game of the FIFA World Cup, Qatar 2022 Qualifiers.
At the same time, Zambia’s Chipolopolo also started their campaign with victory, winning 2-1 away to Mauritania.
The Super Eagles who have been at the FIFA World Cup six times showed their worth as one of the contenders for the 2022 ticket with a measured and assured performance.
Iheanacho continued in his rich vein of form, scoring the opening goal after 22 minutes. The goal came after several missed chances with Alex Iwobi one of the players who had come close for the home side.
Nigeria went to the break with a two-goal cushion, Iheanacho scoring his second of the evening with a swift control and shot inside the box after Iwobi had flicked a long throw to his direction.
The Super Eagles were in equal crisp control in the second half and Iheanacho should have completed a hattrick but his header from a cross was over, with good scoring range.
The home side just but managed to hold on to the 2-0 scoreline as they put themselves firmly in pole position. The Nigerians next take on Cape Verde away from home whole Liberia will host the Central African Republic.
Meanwhile at the Olympic stadium in Nouakchott, Zambia picked up a vital away victory, beating the hosts 2-1.
The Chipolopolo got into the lead in the 10th minute when Enoch Mwepu found the back of the net with a neat right footed finish. The visitors held on to this lead till the halftime break.
In the second half, Zambia doubled their tally when Prince Mumba finished off a move that was initiated by Patson Daka.
Going 2-0 down, the Mauritanians were not about to go down without a fight and they halved the deficit in the 69th minute when Amadou Niass found the back of the net with an effort from inside the box.
Despite late pressure to try and scrape off a point, Mauritania was not clinical enough with the Zambians holding off for the win.