Rustenburg - Chelsea midfielder Victor Moses converted two late penalties to give Nigeria a 2-0 win over Ethiopia on Tuesday and a place in the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.
Moses calmly slotted spot kicks into the corner of the net on 79 and 90 minutes to earn the Super Eagles a last-eight showdown with title favourites and Group D winners Ivory Coast on Sunday.
It was a sad exit for bottom team Ethiopia, back in the big time after 31 years, as they finished the game a man short because goalkeeper Sasay Bancha got a late red card.
VIDEO: Ethiopia v Nigeria
Ethiopia coach Sewnet Bishaw reacted to a 4-0 hammering from Burkina Faso in Nelspruit four days ago by making eight changes - the most by a team so far in the competition.
Bancha was the third goalkeeper chosen for the Walias Antelopes in three games with Jamel Tassew sent off during the opening round against Zambia and Zerihun Tadelle found wanting against the Burkinabe.
Nigeria made three changes as they sought maximum points and a guaranteed place in the knockout stage - a regular occurrence for the Super Eagles with only two first round exits in 16 previous appearances.
The two-time champions had the better of a goalless first half before a big, lively crowd in this north-western mining town with a mass of Ethiopians on one side of the ground and almost as many Nigerians on the other.
Despite having far more of the ball, the Eagles only threatened to break the deadlock from set pieces with Efe Ambrose, the Celtic full-back returning after a one-match ban, heading wide when unmarked at the far post off a free kick.
Ikechukwu Uche was also off target with a header and came even closer from another header off a Moses corner that the partly unsighted Bancha pushed away and the ball was cleared.
While Nigeria came forward patiently and favoured getting the ball out wide, Ethiopia adopted a more direct approach on the odd occasion they attacked as they tried to play passes over the defence to danger man Salahdin Said.
Nigeria were looking equally ineffective in the second half as they tried to break down the Walias Antelopes defence until a crude Alula Girma tackle on Moses earned them a penalty 12 minutes from time.
Moses recovered, took his time, and calmly stroked the ball low into the right corner of the net as Bancha dived in the opposite direction.
Ethiopia almost equalised before Bancha fouled Moses to concede a second spot kick and pick up a red card. Addis Hintsa went into goal as the east Africans had used their three substitutes and Moses converted the kick.