An 89th-minute penalty by Emmanuel Emenike gave Nigeria a priceless 2-1 win against Ethiopia in the first leg of their qualification play-off to reach the World Cup.
John Mikel Obi and Victor Moses started for the Super Eagles in Addis Ababa as they came from behind to dig out what could prove to be a huge victory.
Moses, currently on loan at Liverpool from the Blues, had the first sight of goal for the visitors but fired well wide from a good position, and for much of the first half it was the hosts looking the most likely to make the breakthrough.
They eventually broke the deadlock 11 minutes after the break when Behailu Assefa crossed from wide on the left and Vincent Enyeama in the Nigeria goal carried the ball over the line as he made the catch.
Four minutes later Moses was presented with a wonderful chance to equalise but his effort was well saved by Jemal Tassew, and it was to be his last involvement as he was replaced by Brown Ideye in the 67th minute.
Shortly after, Nigeria were back on level terms when Emenike picked the ball up just outside the penalty area, worked himself into a yard of space and drilled a brilliant strike into the bottom corner.
A draw, on the balance of play, probably would have been a fair result, but there was still time for more drama late on as Nigeria were awarded a penalty for a foul on Emenike by Aynalem Hailu.
The big striker dusted himself down, strode forward and calmly dispatched the resulting kick to double his tally for the afternoon but, more significantly, put his side in the ascendancy ahead of the return leg in Calabar on 16 November.