Nigeria smashed in six goals against minnows Tahiti but suffered the embarrassment of conceding to the team that were odds on not to score at the Confederations Cup.
Jonathan Tehau nodded home from close range to send the country’s supporters – and players – wild – after all, they are ranked 138th in the world.
But Nnamdi Oduamadi bagged a hat-trick and that the Super Eagles would emerge the victors was never in doubt.
Oceania champions Tahiti, with only one professional player in their squad, had a terrible start in Group B when the ball hit the referee and ran to Nigeria’s Uwa Echiejile who scored with a shot that took two deflections in the fifth minute.
Nigeria seemed set for a big scoreline when Oduamadi strolled through the Tahiti defence to make it 2-0 five minutes later after the South Pacific islanders had given the ball away and the African champions added a third before the half-hour.
Tahiti brought the crowd to life, though, when Tehau headed his goal back in the 54th minute.
But Nigeria produced a late flurry when Tehau put through his own goal, Oduamadi completed his hat-trick and Echiejile scored his second.
The 20,000 crowd vociferously backed Tahiti, who took the field wearing shell necklaces, and jeered the Nigerians, creating a surprisingly raucous atmosphere at the Mineirao, especially considering FIFA’s ban on musical instruments.
Nigeria could easily have been five goals ahead at halftime as they wasted further chances in a rather nonchalant fashion.
Tahiti strung some neat moves together and had the one-third full stadium in raptures when they scored in the 54th minute when Tehau headed in at the far post from a corner.
They were growing in confidence and Nigeria became visibly frustrated until the islanders ran out of steam in the last 20 minutes.
Nigeria arrived in Brazil on Sunday after a dispute with their national federation over bonuses sparked a players’ boycott, which briefly threatened their participation.
It was Tahiti’s first match against opponents from outside the Oceania Confederation, according to official records.