Abuja (AFP) – Nigeria beat Libya 4-0 with Odion Ighalo grabbing a hat-trick as the Super Eagles got their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign firmly back on track in Uyo on Saturday.
Nigeria are now second in Group E with six points from three matches, a point behind new leaders South Africa, who earlier defeated Seychelles 6-0.
Both Nigeria and Libya will do battle again in the reverse fixture in Sfax, Tunisia, on Tuesday.
Nigeria raced into a fourth-minute lead when Ighalo put away a penalty after he was fouled by Libya goalkeeper and skipper Muhammad Nashnoush.
The Changchun Yatai of China captain, who was heavily criticised for his performance at the World Cup, gave the home team some comfort in the 58th minute, when he scored his second after he was released by Alex Iwobi.
Ighalo then completed his hat-trick on 69 minutes, when he put away a low cross from the right by the skipper Ahmed Musa.
Bordeaux winger Samuel Kalu netted Nigeria’s fourth goal on the dot of full time, when he curled an unstoppable shot from outside the box after he was set up by substitute Henry Onyekuru.
Libya created some anxious moments in the Nigeria penalty area when in the 13th minute goalkeeper Francis Uzoho was forced to make a reflex save.