After a nervy first half where the Super Eagles of Nigeria could only score once and played poorly, the Nigerian national team rose in the second half to end up 4-0 winners over Ethiopia.
With the game still about 30 seconds on, Peter Utaka got his foot on the ball for Nigeria’s first goal but after that the Eagles seemed to lose interest in the game.
In the 16th minute, Obinna Nsofor skinned his marker but his cross was not connected.
Pic: Ike Uche celebrates his second goal
Four minutes later, Efe Ambrose who had a horrid first half cleared the ball onto the path of Shamelese Bekele Bodo who made his way toward goal but was stopped by Chibuzor Okonkwo as the Ethiopians appealed for a penalty which was turned down by the referee.
With five minutes to the end of the first half, the stadium went silent as Chibuzor Okonkwo mistimed a ball and Oumed Ourri broke free but Joseph Yobo was on hand to scuttle the Ethiopian move.
After this the fans at the stadium started booing the Eagles but that was not for too long as the Eagles attacked again through Joel Obi who let one loose from 20 yards as he got a short pass from Mikel Obi but goalkeeper, Zehirun Tadele Derese punched out for a corner that was wasted anyway.
Ahmed Musa who had a quiet first half made his traditional run down the flank and squared the ball into the box but Nsofor blasted wide after Anichebe put him through.
As the second half resumed, the Eagles came out rearing to go and it was not long before there was a good combination between Anichebe and Utaka but Victor’s return pass could not quite connect Utaka.
With five minutes gone in the second half, Chibuzor Okonkwo freed Peter Utaka who went past his marker, chipped the goalkeeper and blasted home for his brace and Nigeria’s second of the day.
Victor Anichebe did not quite find his feet in the game with goal attempts from him coming few and far between and it was no surprise that he was taken off in the 58th minute and replaced by Osaze Odemwingie who was an injury concern a few days back.
After just seven minutes on the pitch, Osaze found space on the right and his through ball found the feet of Nsofor who had all the time but blasted at the keeper, another wasted attempt by the Super Eagles.
Ike Uche replaced Peter Utaka in the 70th minute and nine minutes later scored; a perfect return after about one year out of the national team with injury.
He first missed a Taye Taiwo cross but Osaze Odemwingie scrambled the ball back in for Uche who jabbed home for Nigeria’s third of the day.
His elder brother, Kalu Uche came in for Joel Obi who and beautifully in the first half.
At this point, most of the Nigerian players were basically camped in the half of the Ethiopians and the pressure was overwhelming.
With one minute left to play in the game, the Ethiopians had a rare foray into the Nigerian area but Dele Aiyenugba stopped a shot by Oumed Ourri.
Just as that was about to sink in and with the fans ready for the final whistle, Ike Uche grabbed the ball and a seeming innocuous shot from 35 yards beat the Ethiopian keeper for his brace and Nigeria’s fourth of the game; pure beauty.
The final whistle sounded and the fans at the stadium rose in thunderous applause for the Eagles who had about the best second half of a game Nigerians had seen in a long time.