First-half goals from Alex Iwobi and Kelechi Iheanacho saw Nigeria win 2-1 away to Zambia in World Cup qualifying.Iwobi handed Nigeria the lead after 32 minutes in Ndola, before Iheanacho made it two shortly before the break to hand Nigeria a comfortable lead at half-time.
Zambia created a number of chances to pull one back and Collins Mbesuma eventually reduced the deficit with 19 minutes left on the clock, but they were unable to level the scoring as the visitors emerged victorious in the Group B opener.
Both sides threatened in the opening stages, but Nigeria went a goal up just past the half-hour mark when Chama dealt poorly with a long throw-in from Onyinye Ndidi.
He headed straight at Iwobi and the Arsenal youngster volleyed past goalkeeper Kennedy Mweene, who managed to get a hand to the ball but could not prevent it from crossing the line.
Rainford Kalaba should perhaps have levelled the scoring following a fine cross from the right from Tembo, but shot stopper Carl Ikeme pulled off a superb save to keep out the Zambia forward’s powerful header.
And Zambia were made to pay three minutes before half-time when Iheanacho doubled Nigeria’s lead after a fine attack. Brown Ideye set up the Manchester City striker inside the area and he rounded Mweene before evading a Zambian defender’s late challenge before tapping home from close range.
John Obi Mikel nearly made it three after the break with a spectacular volley from the edge of the area, with Mweene only just managing to tip it over his crossbar.
At the other end, Kalaba continued to cause the Nigeria defence all kinds of trouble and he came close to pulling one back after some unconvincing defending from Ndidi, only for Ikeme to come to the rescue once more for the away side.
Zambia would get the goal they deserved when Mbesuma made the most of a Kenneth Omeruo howler, firing a low shot past Ikeme on the turn.
There would not be an equaliser, though, as Nigeria held firm to kick off their campaign with an important away win.