Soccer-Emenike returns to help Nigeria advance


Sept 7 (Reuters) - Nigeria's Emmanuel Emenike scored on his return to the national team after an eight-month absence as the African champions beat Malawi 2-0 to clinch a place in the final phase of World Cup qualifying on Saturday.

Emenike scored with a close-range effort on the stroke of halftime and Victor Moses added a second from the penalty spot shortly after the restart in a rain-lashed Calabar to ensure Nigeria finished top of Group F.

Nigeria needed only a draw to go through but took no chances against a surprisingly resilient Malawi, with Emenike opening the scoring after latching on to a ball over the top.

The Fenerbahce striker was top scorer at the African Nations Cup finals at the start of the year but suffered a knee injury that forced him out of the final. It also kept him out of the June Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Nigeria advance to the last round of African qualifiers next month when the 10 group winners are paired into five two-legged playoff ties. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis)

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