Nigeria soared above Seychelles in a 3-0 victory at Stade Linite in Mahe on Saturday afternoon in a Group E clash.
The West Africans had to win to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for next year's finals and so they carried the game to their opponent.
On the other hand, Seychelles tried to stay compact with plenty of players behind the ball to frustrate their more illustrious guests.
The Nigerians broke the deadlock in this encounter in the 15th minute when captain Ahmed Musa linked up with Odion Ighalo, before the former unleashed a cracking volley from outside the penalty area which kissed the crossbar and went in off the back of the Seychelles goalkeeper Dave Mussard for the opener.
The goal spurred the Super Eagles on and they stretched their lead in the 34th minute after Seychellois German based midfielder Karl Hopprich fouled Ighalo outside the penalty area.
England-based Kelechi Iheanacho curled the free kick over the wall which crashed against the foot of the post with goalie Mussard well beaten and Chidozie Awaziem Chidozi buried the loose ball into the yawning net.
Three minutes later, Nigeria almost added a third as Iheanacho picked out Ighalo with a floated pass to beat the Seychelles offside trap. Ighalo lobbed goalie Mussard but the ball dropped onto the crossbar before the danger was cleared as the Nigerians led 2-0 at the break.
The Nigerians went further ahead in the 56th minute when Seychelles skipper Jones Joubert tripped Samuel Ojim in full flight and the Kenyan referee Davies Ogenche Omweno pointed to the spot. Ighalo took responsibility and he coolly sent the Seychellois goalie Mussard the wrong way for a 3-0 lead.
Despite the three goal deficit, the home team urged on by a large crowd, tried to reduce the deficit and in the 62nd minute Perry Monnaie went agonizingly close from a poor clearance by Kenneth Omeruo.
The Nigerians though held on to register their first win in this group whilst the Seychelles team suffered their second loss in as many matches. In other Group E match, South Africa and Libya played out a barren game in Durban. Both teams have four points apiece with Nigeria trailing on three points. Seychelles sit at the bottom pointless.
Gavin Jeanne (Head Coach, Seychelles)
I really appreciate the effort of the players in a very tough match where we tried to stay compact and avoid conceding in the first half. We could not keep them at bay though we had a go at them in the second period. I must congratulate our supporters who were really behind the team and also the players who gave their maximum.
Jones Joubert (Captain, Seychelles)
We knew it was going to be a very demanding match against a professional team but we tried to keep our shape and stay organized. Even after conceding three goals, I feel we gave a good account of ourselves.
Gernot Rohr (Head Coach, Nigeria)
We are very satisfied with the result as the important thing was to win three points. It was not easy as our opponent were very combative and aggressive. We started well though in the second half we found it hard playing against the wind. Our opponent also worked hard and we never underestimated them.
Ahmed Musa (Captain, Nigeria)
The most important thing was to collect the three points at stake. We started strongly but we grew tired in the second half on the artificial pitch which was difficult. We are pleased to have won our first points in this group.
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