Mohamed Salah was a shadow of himself as Nigeria’s Super Eagles opened their Africa Cup of Nations campaign on a winning note beating the most successful side in the competition 1-0
The match lived up to the hype of what was expected from both teams that have ten titles between them.
Iheanacho’s fine strike in 30th minute proved the decider of the keenly contested tie.
From Moses Simon to Joe Aribo and Maduka Okoye’s save from Mohammed Salah, every Super Eagles player played with intent and got a win that will now send a warning to other teams in the tournament.
Despite the pitch denying both teams zip on the ball, Nigeria adapted better and Simon could only shoot the side netting when played through on goal.
Coach Augustin Eguavoen’s side deservedly went ahead on 30 minutes through Iheanacho. The self-styled Senioman Kelz controlled Aribo’s header before planting a half-volley into the left top corner for his 11th international goal.
Iheanacho and Awoniyi linked up severally in the match, the former finding the later for a shot that was held by goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy as the Eagles went into the break with a deserved lead.
Nigeria again started the better side in the second half, Simon shooting wide before Awoniyi’s header was tipped onto the bar by El Shenawy as Nigeria went in search for a second goal.
The Pharaohs’ double substitutions meant the match became an end-to-end encounter, Salah denied by Maduka Okoye while Kelechi and substitute Chidera Ejuke also went close for the Eagles.
The Eagles backline, however, stifled Carlos Quiroz’s men to claim all three points, going top of Group D while Egypt sank to the bottom.
Nigeria will face Sudan in their second game on Saturday, at the same stadium.