Nigeria secured their place at next summer's 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil with a 2-0 win over Ethiopia, which gave them a 4-1 aggregate victory.
FT: Nigeria 2-0 Ethiopia. (Agg 4-1) Nigeria are going to Brazil for the FIFA world cup in 2014. They are the first African team to qualify.— Bolarinwa (@iambolar) November 16, 2013
Nigeria led 2-1 from the first leg and looked very much the stronger outfit in the opening stages of the game.
Chances were few and far between, though Victor Moses and Brown Ideye tried their luck from range.
The opening goal came on 19 minutes after Aynalem Hailu handled the ball in the box, with Moses dispatching the penalty calmly into the bottom right corner. That opened up a two-goal lead for Nigeria and seemed to knock the wind out of Ethiopia.
The home side saw out the half in relative comfort and could have added another goal if not for a couple of good saves from goalkeeper Sisay Bancha.
After the break there was very little action in either goalmouth, as Nigeria maintained possession and control of the game without putting their lead at risk.
The final goal of the game came 10 minutes from the end, with Victor Obinna powering a free kick past Bancha to seal the result both on the night and on aggregate.
The Super Eagles were by far the better side and deserved their win. They will now focus on making an impact in Brazil.
FT NGR 2-0 ETH: Nigeria qualify for the 2014 World Cup. This will be their 5th appearance, 2nd-most for CAF nations (Cameroon). #Nigeria— Infostrada Sports (@InfostradaLive) November 16, 2013
Key Player Grades:
Victor Moses: B
The Nigerian attacker was a key part of the home side's game plan to attack the game early on, with his movement and pace causing trouble for the Ethiopian back line. Moses showed great composure to roll home the penalty in the first half, though he had less impact after the break as the tempo dropped considerably.
Sisay Bancha: B+
He made some extremely good saves to keep his side in the game despite being easily exposed almost from the first whistle. However, he will be disappointed to have conceded the second goal from a direct free kick that flew in almost directly above his head.
Nigeria are the first African side to qualify for the 2014 World Cup and will now look to their remaining friendly fixtures to plan their squad and figure out how they can best mount a challenge in Brazil next summer. Ethiopia must build again for their next tournament appearance.