The Super Eagles got their AFCON 2021 campaign off to a perfect start after recording a 1-0 win Egypt in Garoua on Tuesday.
It is the Eagles’ first win over Egypt at the AFCON since the 1990 edition in Algiers.
Kelechi Iheanacho was the hero as his brilliant first half volley sealed the deserved win for the Super Eagles.
Liverpool star, forward Mohamed Salah was a ‘passenger’ all through the encounter as he was nullified by the Eagles defense.
Egypt had the first chance on goal in the 5th minute through Mostafa Mohamed, who bursted on the right but his low shot was saved by Maduka Okoye.
The Pharoahs were forced into an early change as Akram Tawfik went off injured and was replaced by Mohamed Abdelmoner.
In the 13th minute Egypt broke on a counter but Okoye came out quick from his area to thwart the danger.
Moses Simon has the Eagles’ first big chance on 27 minutes after he was played on by Joe Aribo, but he hit the side netting.
The Eagles’ early domination was finally rewarded through Iheanacho on 30 minutes. The Leicester City forward controlled Aribo’s header with his thigh before unleashing a brilliant left-foot volley into the top corner.
In the 38th minute, Awoniyi almost doubled the Eagles’ lead after he was played on by Iheanacho following a fast break, but the Union Berlin striker’s curler was not enough to trouble the Egyptian keeper.
A minute later Ndidi went close with a low left foot strike close to the edge of the Egyptian box but his effort went off target.
In the second half, the Eagles continued from where they stopped in the first half and almost doubled their lead through Awoniyi but his header from a tight angle was palmed on to the bar by the Egyptian keeper.
Iheanacho should have gotten his second goal on 57 minutes but failed to control a pass with the goal at his mercy.
The Egyptians came out for the equalizer and went close following a cross but William Troost-Ekong made a timely clearance.
Iheanacho had another opportunity on 65 minutes but could only find the side net.
In the 71st minute Salah almost drew his side level after he beat the offside trap but Okoye saved with his feet.
And three minutes of added time Ejuke would have made it 2-0, but his effort was blocked for a corner.
The Eagles will return to action on Saturday, January 15 against Sudan while Egypt will battle Guinea-Bissau the same day.