Super Eagles partially redeemed their image Tuesday in Freetown playing Sierra Leone better than they did in Benin City on Friday.
Even though qualification was not attained as expected, their barren draw with their host still gave them arithmetical chances of qualifying as group leaders.
They inched further to eight points as they are hotly pursued by neighbours, Benin Republic who are just a point behind after holding their hosts on Tuesday, Lesotho to a barren draw.
The results of the two Group L matches make the Benin versus Nigeria fixture on Match Day 5 the crunch game. Nigeria struggled to narrowly beat Benin 2-1 on match day 1.
Should Benin beat Nigeria in the next game in March next year, they will overtake the Super Eagles by two points.
A draw maintains the status quo while a win for Nigeria assures instant qualification with a home match against Lesotho to spare.
For Sierra Leone, they needed an outright defeat of the Super Eagles to be in contention for qualification. One of their last two matches will be against hot contenders, Benin Republic.
Sierra Leone had featured in the Africa Cup of Nations only twice, the last time being 1996 in South Africa.