Victor Moses was on target as Nigeria secured top spot in African World Cup qualifying Group F with a 2-0 win over Malawi in Calabar.
The Super Eagles, for whom John Mikel Obi played the full 90 minutes, dominated for large parts of the game, and sealed the win with a goal either side of the break.
Emmanuel Emenike, top scorer at the Africa Cup of Nations in January, gave the hosts the lead just before half-time with a wonderful chip, and Malawi’s task was made all the more difficult early in the second half when the referee awarded a penalty after James Sangala was adjudged to have brought down Nnamdi Omuadi.
Moses, who completed a loan move to Liverpool earlier this week, was the man entrusted with taking the kick and he made no mistake, doubling Nigeria’s advantage from the spot.
Malawi’s Mzava Limbikani was then dismissed for a second yellow card, enabling Nigeria to see the game out comfortably.
After an impressive display, Moses was withdrawn 19 minutes from time, replaced by Nosa Emanuel Igiebor.
Nigeria will now enter a play-off against another group winner to determine which nation progresses to next summer’s tournament in Brazil.
The draw for the play-offs will be made on 18 September.
Meanwhile, it was a night to remember for Ramires who, after returning to the international fold, scored one and made one in Brazil’s 6-0 friendly win over Mark Schwarzer’s Australia at the Mane Garrincha Stadium.
Ramires, who along with David Luiz started the game for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side, scored the fourth goal on the night, arriving at the far post to meet Maxwell’s cross and power a header past Chelsea team-mate Schwarzer in the visitors’ goal.
Two minutes later the Blues’ midfielder almost doubled his tally, only to see his strike from outside the penalty area crash against the foot of the post.
A Jo brace had put the hosts in control of the contest before Neymar made it 3-0 before the break, latching on to a Ramires pass and finishing smartly.
Alexandre Pato made it 5-0 before Luis Gustavo put the seal on the night with a peach of a strike six minutes from time.
David Luiz was replaced by Dante just after the hour mark.