ABUJA, Nigeria - Nigeria lost their unbeaten World Cup qualifying record on Tuesday as FIFA awarded Algeria a 3-0 win for their final qualifier after the Super Eagles fielded an ineligible player.
The game finished 1-1 in Algeria last month, but Nigeria played Shehu Abdullahi, who should have been serving a one-match ban having already been booked twice in previous games.
He received a yellow card in a second-round tie against Swaziland in 2015 and was then cautioned in a 1-0 group-stage victory over Zambia last October.
It doesn't affect the African qualifiers for next year's finals, as Nigeria had already booked their place for Russia before the Algeria match.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) was also fined 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,052).
"This is a grave error and somebody must be punished," NFF president Amaju Pinnick said in a statement.
"We apologise to Nigerians for this and assure that this will not in any way derail or even distract us in our well–laid plan to ensure that the Super Eagles have a great outing in Russia.
"At the same time, I want to assure that persons responsible for this slip would not be given just a slap on the wrist."