Kelechi Iheanacho’s strike in the first half is all Nigeria needed to start their 2022 African Cup of Nations with a win over Egypt.

Egypt arrived at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua, Cameroon as the clear favorites having had on form Liverpool striker Mohammed Salah on their side but it was Nigeria who showed their intent earlier on.

Salah saw a powerful volley blocked before the linesman’s flag went up for an earlier offside infringement. Moments later, he was denied by Nigeria goalkeeper Maduka Okoye from close range after he was played in by a fine ball over the top.

Nigeria however took the lead on the half-hour mark when Iheanacho received the ball from Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo on the edge of the area and volleyed into the top corner with aplomb to put the Super Eagles ahead.

Iheanacho’s Foxes teammate Wilfred Ndidi was a standout performer, dominating the midfield battle against Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny and Aston Villa’s Trezeguet.

Egypt were to be forced into an earlier change when Mohamed Ahmed replaced injured defender Akram Tawfik and Pharaoh’s manager Carlos Queiroz made a further three changes in the first 15 minutes of the second half to little effect.

The result comes as a blow to Egypt’s hopes of building on their record-seven AFCON titles ahead of Saturday’s clash with Guinea Bissau. Nigeria will be up against Sudan in their next encounter in Group D.


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