AFCON 2021: Iheanacho’s Goal Helps Nigeria Beat Egypt

Kelechi Iheanacho was on target as Nigeria made a winning start to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign as they comfortably beat seven-time champions Egypt in Group D opener.

The Super Eagles forward scored the only goal on 30 minutes as Nigeria overcame lacklustre Egypt 1-0 in a clash of Group D big guns in the northwestern city of Garoua.

His match winner and overall performance earned Iheanacho the man-of-the-match award on a day when prolific Liverpool scorer Mohamed Salah failed to sparkle.

Captain Salah cut an isolated, frustrated, figure at the Stade Roumde Adjia and when he did get a scoring chance in the second half, his prod was saved by the boot of goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.

This was the eighth meeting of the Super Eagles and the Pharaohs in the flagship African tournament and three-time champions Nigeria have won four and drawn two.

The Super Eagles dominated throughout, with Egypt keeper Mohamed El Shenawy tipping a Taiwo Awoniyi header on to the bar and twice denying Chidera Ejuke.

Nigeria succeeded after a troubled build-up in which German coach Gernot Rohr was fired following an unimpressive World Cup qualifying run and former national star Eguavoen took temporary charge.

Eguavoen’s squad was without forwards Victor Osimhen, Emmanuel Dennis and Odion Ighalo for a variety of reasons, but his team went on the offensive from the kick-off and did him proud.

Speedy winger Moses Simon played a major role when the Super Eagles took the lead at the 30,000-capacity stadium.