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Nigeria’s Super Eagles shock 7-time AFCON winner Egypt in opening campaign

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Safiu Kehinde

The Super Eagles of Nigeria started their 19th African Cup of Nations campaign on a brighter note, following a 1-0 win against 7-time champions, Egypt in the Group D opener at Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua, Cameroon.

A first half goal from Kelechi Iheanacho was all what Augustine Eguavoen’s side needed to sink the Pharaohs of Egypt. Though the Egyptians were the first to put a check on Nigeria’s goalmouth but Mostafa Muhammed was perfectly secured by unmoved Super Eagles goalkeeper, Maduka Okoye.

Few minutes into the first half, the Egyptians suffered what appeared to be a big blow after Akwam Tawfik was forced to leave the pitch. The right-back could be seen grimacing after picking an injury. He was replaced with Mohamed Abdel Monem – a substitution which seemed to have altered the Egyptians’ tactics.

Nigeria’s golden chance came after Joe Aribo found himself in an attacking position. The midfielder launched the attack to Kelechi Iheanacho which the ‘Senior Man’ neatly placed beyond the reach of Egypt’s goalkeeper.

Following the goal, it was just ‘Salah and vibes’ for the Super Eagles who pocketed the Liverpool star and Egypt’s talisman while defending their 1 goal lead. Mo’ Salah was left in shadows by the Super Eagles defenders who kept him at bay.

The second half still saw Egypt clueless against the Nigerian side. Despite making four changes ahead of Nigeria, they failed to break through the Super Eagles’ watertight defence. The Pharaohs could only register 3 shots on target all through the match.

On the contrary, Nigeria appeared to be the dominant team, enjoying 58% ball possession while recording four shots on target as against Egypt’s two. The absence of Victor Oshimen was felt as the Eagles missed clinical chances that the Napoli man would have capitalized on.

Meanwhile, the win sees Nigeria leading the Group D table while Egypt sits at the bottom. Augustine Eguavoen’s men will take on Sudan next as they continue their journey towards a fourth AFCON title.

However, their lead in Group D might soon be waylaid, depending on the outcome of the match between Sudan and Guinea Bissau. But for the meantime, the Super Eagles comfortably keep the flag rising after their conquest of The Pharaohs of Egypt.

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