A brace by striker Taiwo Awoniyi qualified Nigeria to the football event of the 2015 All Africa Games on Sunday as they beat hosts Zambia 2-1.
Both teams played out a 0-0 draw in Abuja three weeks ago for Nigeria’s Dream Team VI to go through 2-1 on aggregate.
On Sunday, Zambia attacked from the onset and carved several chances, but it was 17-year-old Awoniyi, drafted into the team for this return match, who put the visitors ahead on 34 minutes.
Zambia continued to pile on the pressure and they were rewarded in the 76th with the equaliser through substitute Friday Samu from close range after he was set up by Shederack Malambo.
However, Awoniyi put this encounter beyond the Zambians with just minutes to spare with his second strike.
Two minutes after Awoniyi’s winner, goalkeeper Daniel denied Zambia a second equaliser as he tipped Moses Phiri’s effort over the bar for a corner.
Mukuka Mulenga and Malambo were torn in Nigeria’s flesh and within the first 20 minutes they forced two corner kicks and several goal attempts.
In the 22nd minute, Sodiq Atanda Ololade almost put Nigeria ahead when his header off a corner kick flew wide.
A minute later, Zambia were unlucky as an effort at goal came off the post.
In the 50th minute, Ronald Kampamba shot wide from close range.
In the 56th minute, goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel made a daring save off Samu’s strike to keep Nigeria ahead 1-0.
The second half was a different ball game as Nigeria got into the groove with Azubuike Okechukwu and Kingsley Sokari in control of the midfield.
Nigeria, who failed to qualify for the last AAG, will now join Burkina Faso and Sudan in the eight-team competition in September.

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