Super Eagles forward Odion Ighalo scored three times as the team crushed visiting Libya 4-0 in their Group E 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier at the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium on Saturday.
The Super Eagles got off to the perfect as they went 1-0 up in the fourth minute through Ighalo who converted from the penalty spot after he was fouled by Libya’s keeper and skipper Mohamed Abdaula.
In the 10th minute Ighalo thought he had won another penalty for Nigeria After he was brought down by Abdaula but the referee waved play on.
A few minutes later Francis Uzoho made a big save as he palmed away a goalbound header off a left-footed cross.
In the 12th minute Wilfred Ndidi almost doubled Nigeria’s lead after connecting with Oghenekaro Etebo’s swung in free-kick only for his effort to come off the post.
Nigeria was forced into an early change in the 19th minute as Ola Aina replaced Shehu Abdullah who went off with a thigh injury.
With one minute left in the first half Jamilu Collins almost doubled Nigeria’s lead after he was played through on goal but saw his clever chip came off the bar.
Libya came out all fired up in the second half but it was the Eagles who went close on 55 minutes but Ndidi saw his left-footed strike on the edge of the box sail over the bar.
In the 58th minute Nigeria went 2-0 as Ighalo ran towards Alex Iwobi’s brilliant through pass rounded the keeper before slotting into the unguarded net.
Ighalo completed his hat-trick in the 69th minute as he bundled the ball into the net from an Ahmed Musa’s cross after his initial effort was blocked by the Libyan keeper.
Substitute Henry Onyekuru could have extended Nigeria’s lead off a superb through pass but his first touch let him down.
And in the 90th minute Samuel Kalu made it 4-0 as he curled his effort into the far corner after good play from Onyekuru.
Libya will host Nigeria in the second leg which comes up on Tuesday, October 16 in Tunisia.