Victor Osimehn was the best player on the pitch as Nigeria's Super Eagles just about did enough to pull through to the final round of the African Qualifiers after a hard-fought draw at home to Cape Verde.
African Qualifiers: Osimhen shines as Super Eagles survive Cape Verde scare to qualify for final round.
It wasn't a vintage performance from the Super Eagles but they got the job done
The Napoli striker was named deserved man of the match and the hero for the Eagles, who were held to a 1-1 draw by their visitors Cape Verde who almost snatched a win late into the game at the Teslim Balogun stadium on Tuesday evening.
Osimhen opened the scoring as early as the first minute to put Nigeria 1-0 ahead but the lead only lasted for four minutes as Stopira Mendes equalised for the away side during their 2022 FIFA WorldCup Qualifier..
Odion Ighalo made his return after over two years but it hardly inspired the Eagles who held on by the skin of their teeth for a share of the spoils that proved just enough for the place in the next round.
Nigeria finished as Group C leaders on 13 points, two ahead of the valiant Cape Verdeans in second place.
Gernot Rohr retained the 3-5-2 formation used against Liberia in Tangier on Saturday, with Victor Osimhen leading the lines alongside Odion Ighalo, returning to the starting XI for the first time after over two years, coming in for Kelechi Iheanacho.
In a game both sides must avoid defeat, the host Super Eagles were the ones who started on a front foot and went for the kill early on.
A relentless press from Osimhen, who had an injury scare during the warm up off a Leon Balogun tackle, in the opening seconds saw Nigeria get the first corner of the match with the Napoli man capitalising on an error to put Nigeria ahead.
But the lead only lasted five minutes as Cape Verde found their way back into the game via a set piece of their own.
A corner kick found a loose Mendes in the six yard box and the forward made no mistakes to shoot past a helpless Maduka Okoye.
The Super Eagles were not dampened by the goal and recovered to dominate most of the half, creating so many chances to put daylight between them and the Blue Sharks, who camped in their own half in a narrow 5-2-3 shape.
But a combination of brilliant goalkeeping and poor finishing meant it remained 1-1. Ighalo was guilty of missing two good chances, while the Cape Verdean goalkeeper denied Joe Aribo once and Osimhen three times with excellent saves.
In the end, there was nothing to separate both countries at the break as things remained level.
Super Eagles started the second 45 minutes as they did the first but there was still nothing to show for it first most part.
The second half was more of a cagey affair as both sides played cautiously as there were a few chances compared to the first.
However, late in the game and with time running out, it was the away side who needed a win that piled on the pressure and almost snatched all three points.
A free kick from the right found its way into the Super Eagles box, with a sea of legs in the box, it was Osimhen who put his body on the line to deny Cape Verde what would have been a heartbreaking winner.
Nigeria held on for the point which guaranteed them a place in the final round.