Odion Ighalo’s first international goal and Gbolahan Salami’s close-range shot gave Nigeria an opening Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualification win over Chad on Saturday.
The Super Eagles are top of Group G in a 2017 Afcon qualifier following a 2-0 win over Les Sao at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium and with Egypt slated to host Tanzania on Sunday.
Coach Stephen Keshi named three fresh call-ups in his defensive line-up in Williams Troost-Ekong, Kingsley Madu and Anderson Esiti.
Chad, who arrived Kaduna on Thursday without their training apparel, withstood the hosts’ pressure for most of the first half.
The introduction of Odion Ighalo and Rabiu Ibrahim in the second-half switched momentum in favour of the Super Eagles as Aaron Samuel’s curled free-kick from the edge of the box came off the woodwork.
The Guangzhou R&F striker eventually provided the assist for Salami’s opener, cutting back from the far post for the Warri Wolves striker to smash into the top of the net Mbairamadji Dillah’s goal.
The Chadians rarely troubled Nigeria’s defence and Ibrahim almost doubled the lead on 75 minutes but his free-kick sailed inches past the visitors’ goal.
Ighalo was then presented with an opportunity to open his account for the three-time champions when he was bundled down inside the box by Asselmo Kilioufou Nassa.
The Watford striker ignored the melee that ensued afterwards, as Ogenyi Onazi Saw straight red for decent, and made no mistake from 12 yards.
A frustrated coach Emmanuel Tregoat side could not make the most of the closing ten minutes despite playing with a one-man advantage and it was the Kaduna fans, buoyed by the presence of Governor Nasiru El-Rufai, who went home in delight.