By Jacob Ajom, Calabar
The Super Eagles Saturday before a capacity crowd at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar defeated their noisy Malawian opponents 2-0 to qualify for the final round of 2014 World Cup qualifiers which hold in October and November.
Emmanuel Emenike marked a remarkable return to the Eagles with a trademark opener against the Flames of Malawi in the crucial match where they needed only a draw to sail through. Just when everybody thought the first half was going to end on a barren note, the Eagles gained possession in their own half of the pitch and Ogenyi Onazi released Emenike on the far right.
The AFCON hero beat the offside trap to beat the onrushing Malawian keeper to slot home the goal. The goal was long awaited and the stadium errupted in ecstacy.
The match started in à frenzy with the home side displaying an imperious dominance, particularly in the midfield where Chelsea of England dynamo, Mikel Obi and Ogenyi Onazi of Lazio took total control.
The visitors made things a bit difficult for the Eagles as they defended well and made occasional runs through the left that brought so much trouble for the Nigerian defence. Of note was Ngalanda Robin whose combination with Ngambi Robert and Nyondo Atusaye proved a handful.
The second half started on a bright note as the Eagles displayed a sense of urgency. Moses scored from the spot after Nnamdi Oduamadi was brought down in the vital area. Two minutes later, Ahmed Musa was viciously brought down by the same man, Mzava Limbikani who was given a red card in return. With one man short, Saintfiet sacrificed hardworking Ngalande Robin and introduced a defender.
Keshi responded with the introduction of Nosa Igiebor while in the later part of the match, Shola Ameobi and Uche Nwofor were introduced to have a feeling of the turf.
The final whistle brought a lot of relief to the Malawian bench as the Eagles dominance in the later part of the match brought a lot of worry to coach Saintfiet.