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Page last updated at 19:01 GMT, Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Nigeria 3-0 Mozambique

By Stephen Fottrell

Osaze Odemwingie celebrates his opening goal
Striker Osaze Odemwingie scored either side of the break

Nigeria eased through to the last eight with a 3-0 win over Mozambique, courtesy of an Osaze Odemwingie double and a late goal from Obafemi Martins.

The Nigerians looked more convincing than in previous games, with Odemwingie netting either side of half-time and substitute Martins coming on to score.

Mozambique looked bright early on and were unlucky not to get on the scoresheet, with Paito threatening.

Nigeria qualify second from Group C behind Egypt, who topped the group.

The Super Eagles started a lot more positively than in their previous two matches, with John Obi Mikel just failing to find striker Yakubu Ayegbeni and Odemwingie making his first darting run forward and shooting wide early on.

On nine minutes, a poor Mozambique clearance went straight to Nigeria's Chinedu Obasi, who shot straight across goalkeeper Rafael, who covered it well and parried to safety.

The Mambas had a great opportunity minutes later, after some neat build-up play saw the ball through to winger Paito who unleashed a fierce long-range effort that breezed past the top corner.

Obasi looked in a great position mid-way through the half when Shittu headed down a dangerous ball to the striker, who snapped at the ball, giving Rafael a chance to gather.

Odemwingie again threatened when he fired off a shot at Rafael's near post that the keeper got down to well.

Yakubu of Nigeria (L) challenges Fanuel of Mozambique
Nigeria made their presence felt a lot more in their final group game

Paito then hammered in another spectacular effort on the half hour, forcing a diving save out of Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama.

Nigeria went back into their shells for a spell and allowed the Mozambicans to come onto the ball, before Odemwingie took charge and created the opener single-handedly.

The Lokomotiv Moscow man was gifted acres of space and time as he ran at the Mambas' defence and gratefully picked his spot to brilliantly fire in past the diving Rafael.

It was a deserved goal for a player who had been knocking on the door throughout the half.

Nigeria doubled their lead just after the break with a clinical break from their own half.

Yakubu was played onside on the left and squared for the on-rushing Odemwingie to double his tally with a neat first-touch finish.

From then on Nigeria looked comfortable for much of the second period, largely containing Mozambique in midfield.

Fanuel Massinga was limited to unleashing a 40-yard free-kick that almost came off when it dipped sharply, but not enough to trouble Enyeama.

We arrived here with our heads held high, and we're leaving with our heads held high

Mozambique coach Mart Nooij

Mozambique had their best chance to get back into the game when Domingues twisted and turned his way into a position to cross for Dario Monteiro, whose fine header was well saved at close range by Enyeama.

But the game was put beyond reach when Mikel punished sloppy defending to shoot at Rafael, who parried it into the path of Martins who finished confidently to put Nigeria through.

Odenwingie paid tribute to his teammates after the victory.

"We had a lot of pressure on us, but since the start of the competition we have made daily progress, from the goalkeepers to the strikers," he said.

Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu, who has been under sustained pressure throughout the tournament, said he would enjoy the win.

"I can't avoid the critics," he said.

"I'm happy that the boys were able to deliver the goods.

"As for our next rivals let me enjoy this victory before speaking about Cameroon or any other team."

Mozambique coach Mart Nooij expressed pride in the efforts of his team.

"I can't be disappointed, my players gave everything they had to give," he said.

"We arrived here with our heads held high, and we're leaving with our heads held high."

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see also
Martins back in Angola
15 Jan 10 |  African
Egypt 3-1 Nigeria
12 Jan 10 |  African
Mozambique 2-2 Benin
12 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations photos
12 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations fixtures
07 Jan 10 |  African
Africa Cup of Nations tables
07 Jan 10 |  African

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