The Super Eagles of Nigeria defeated Zambia 2-1 at Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola to commence her Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup Group B qualifying campaign on a strong note.
The game marked low start for Zambia coach Wedson Nyirenda who was making his debut as Chipolopolo trainer.
Nigeria took command of the match in the opening 45 minutes courtesy of goals from England-based duo, Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho.
Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi put the Super Eagles ahead in the 32nd minute with a shot past Zambia goalie Kennedy Mweene.
Zambia’s best chance in the first half that Nigeria commanded came on 27 minutes through Fwayo Tembo but his volley was saved by Onora Ikeme.
Meanwhile, the opener only fueled the visitors’ impetus and three minutes before the break, Nigeria extended her lead when Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho displayed sublime skills to round up Mweene before slotting home.
The Chipolopolo then returned from the break with more resolve and burly striker Collins Mbesuma brought the best out of Ikeme in the 54th minute.
However, Nigeria did not sit back and Zambia had goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene to thank when he saved Iwobi’s goal bound shot in the 55th minute and parried Mikel Obi’s attempt two minutes later.
The hosts put some respect on the scoreline in the 70th minute when Mbesuma fired in a cross from Fwayo Tembo assist to give the home side some hope.
Mbesuma could have added a brace in the 87th minute but failed to meet a cross from substitute Roger Kola on 80 minutes, moments after Kola replaced Tembo.
Algeria host Cameroon in the other Group B match later on Sunday in Blida.
Zambia slump to the bottom of Group B and regroup for a trip to Cameroon on match day two on November 7 while Nigeria, on three points will host Algeria next.