Super Eagles succeeded in doing the nation some good ahead of Thursday’s Fifa Ranking with a 4-1 thrashing of Burkina Faso in an international friendly at the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna.
A Brown Ideye’s first-half brace gave Nigeria an edge over the Burkinabes, before Shola Ameobi scored his first international goal and substitute Emmanuel Emenike finished off for the Eagles.
A 78th minute consolatory goal was all the visitors could get from the hard-fighting African champions with the playoffs draw at stake for both nations.
Coach Stephen Keshi decided to have Ameobi in front as a lone striker and the Newcastle man did superbly well holding the ball up to bring Obinna Nsofor and Ideye into the game.
Ideye got Nigeria in the ascendancy in the 17th minute after a defencive mix up by the 2013 Afcon runners up. An Nsofor’s through ball evaded the visitors’ defence and fell to the feet of the Dynamo Kiev man who tapped home the opener.
Ameobi came close to extending the lead in the 20th minute, but was beaten to an Elderson Echiejile’s cross by Burkina Faso goalkeeper. Nsofor later dribbled three defenders but was pulled down from behind at the point of releasing the trigger which the referee waved play on.
Austin Ejide stood between the Burkina Faso’s chance a goal by quickly coming out of his line to collect a deadly cross.
Ideye netted his brace in the 45th minute when Ogenyi Onazi dispossessed a Burkina Faso player in his half and fed Nsofor who released the forward to chip past the keeper.
Nigeria increased their lead 8 minutes after the interval when Nsofor laid a fine through ball for Ameobi and the latter buried home a beautiful effort.
Second-half substitute Sunday Mba was a thorn in the Burkinabes defence as were in the Afcon 2013 final.
Emenike finished scoring for the hosts in the 62nd minute to place Nigeria in their comfort zone at which point Keshi rang some changes.
Burkina Faso attacked in sprouts, and caught the Super Eagles off guard courtesy of some defensive errors to net a consolatory goal.
Nigeria then chose to knock the ball around in the final ten minutes while Burkina Faso resulted to delay tactics to get over with the game.