Thu. Jan 27th, 2022

Leicester City’s forward scored the only goal of the match to put Nigeria’s difficult build – up to the matches behind them.

Kelechi Iheanacho pressed as Nigeria built a difficult build-up to the African Cup of Nations Tuesday in Cameroon behind them to beat disappointing Egypt 1-0 in Garoua.

The Leicester City forward struck after 30 minutes to take the Super Eagles to the top of the table after the opening match in Group D, which includes Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.

Nigeria fired German coach Gernot Rohr in December after an unimpressive World Cup qualifying campaign and temporarily put former national star Augustine Eguavoen in charge.

Eguavoen’s team was without forwards Victor Osimhen, Emmanuel Dennis and Odion Ighalo for several reasons, but his team made him proud against Mohamed Salah under captain of Egypt.

Productive Liverpool striker Salah barely touched the ball and had only one chance, late in the second half, to equalize.

A high opening controlled by Nigeria came to life in 26 minutes when wing Moses Simon came behind the Egyptian defense and fired from a difficult angle into the net.

Simon played a big role when the Super Eagles took the lead four minutes later at the 30,000-capacity Stade Roumde Adjia in the northwestern city of Garoua.

His cross was only partially cleared by Ahmed Hegazy and Nigerian Joseph Aribo nodded the ball into the path of Iheanacho who hammered a half volley past goalkeeper Mohamed Elshenawy.

A much more energetic Nigerian team deserved to be ahead against listless opponents, with Salah hungry for possession in 30 degree Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) heat.

Iheanacho almost scored a second goal for Nigeria before half-time, but his pass to Taiwo Awoniyi was just too strong and Elshenawy drove off his line to collect the ball.

Egypt almost fell further behind in the second half when Elshenawy grabbed an Awoniyi header and bounced the ball back from the bottom of the crossbar.

Simon’s speed was a constant threat on the left, while Nigeria’s goalkeeper Maduka Okoye was a mere spectator with Egypt unable to muster pressure.

Salah, who had a shorter hairstyle, finally got a chance when the game entered the final quarter, but his short-range push was blocked by Okoye’s foot and cleared.

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