Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel played some outstanding football to help Nigeria take full control of Group B in World Cup qualifying with a 3-1 home victory over the Desert Foxes of Algeria at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium Uyo.
Moses and Mikel were on target in the first half, before Nabil Bentaleb’s goal after the break gave the desert Foxes hope of a comeback.
But Moses scored his second in the final moments as Gernot Rohr’s side won their second straight game in the final stage of CAF qualification.
The win puts the Eagles four points clear of nearest challengers Cameroon in Group B, with Algeria and Zambia a further one behind. Only the pool winners will make it to Russia in 2018.
Moses had already created the best early chance in the first meeting between the two sides since the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations when he cut inside and fired wide, but the Chelsea winger made no mistake after 25 minutes.
After collecting a pass from Mikel, Moses took advantage of poor defending from Hicham Belkaroui to fire into the bottom corner, before being booked for removing his shirt in celebration.
Bentaleb squandered a wonderful chance to equalise for Algeria, firing over from eight yards after controlling from Yacine Brahimi’s excellent run and cross down the left – and that miss cost the visitors when Nigeria doubled their lead three minutes before the break.
Etebo Oghenekaro’s pass found a shocked Mikel completely unmarked in the middle of Algeria’s box after he had been played onside by full-back Aissa Mandi and the captain finished with ease for his first international goal in over three years.
Algeria pressed in a bid to get back into the game and Bentaleb scored a stunning goal with 23 minutes remaining, rifling into the top corner from 30 yards after being found by Riyad Mahrez.
Brahimi then came close with two late efforts, but Moses grabbed his second in stoppage-time, finishing coolly from substitute Ahmed Musa’s cross as Nigeria secured a win that puts them in a strong position with four games to play.