In the earlier encounter, Sierra Leone frustrate Algeria in a Goalless Draw. All the action of the Opening AFCON 2022 fixtures in Cameroon!
Nigeria’s Super Eagles put their pre-tournament issues behind them to upset Egypt 1-0 in their opening Group D match of the ongoing 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Garoua, Cameroon, on Tuesday.
Leicester City striker, Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal on the half-hour mark was all that Nigeria needed to register their first competitive victory against the Pharaohs since March 1990.
After a slow start to the fixture, Iheanacho unleashed a stunner in the 30th minute that flew past outstretched Egypt goalkeeper, Mohammed El Shenawy, after pouncing on Joe Aribo’s header.
Though Liverpool forward, Mohamed Salah, had a frustrating night, he nearly levelled the scores midway through the second half, only to be denied by the Super Eagles custodian, Maduka Okoye.
But it was Nigeria who nearly doubled the lead a few minutes into the second half, when Taiwo Awoniyi’s effort crashed against the crossbar, after a touch from El Shenawy, before Iheanacho squandered a couple of chances to add to his tally.
Although the Egyptians barely caused any trouble to the Super Eagles’ defence throughout the game, it was Carlos Queiroz’s men who got the first opportunity of the game, only for Mostafa Mohamed’s effort to be stopped by Maduka Okoye.
Nigeria responded shortly after, but Moses Simon saw his shot hit the side-netting, before the Nantes winger initiated a move, then delivered a brilliant ball into the box that was headed into Iheanacho’s path by Aribo. The former Manchester City striker made no mistake to slam the ball into the top of the net.
After the break, Queiroz made a couple of changes, bringing on Ashraf, Zizo, Sobhi, and Sherif, but a resilient Nigeria held their nerve to make a positive start to the tournament.
In an earlier match at Japoma Stadium, Sierra Leone frustrated defending champions Algeria to a barren draw in their Group E tie.
Despite dominating possession, the star-studded Desert Foxes, led by Manchester City forward, Riyad Mahrez, could not break the Leone Stars’ resistance as they extended their unbeaten run in the competition to nine matches.