Nigeria have deserved 1-0 winners in their heavyweight Group D opener with Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations, with Mohamed Salah unable to inspire the record seven-time champions.
Carlos Queiroz’s side were second best for virtually the entire game but especially the first half when they found themselves trailing to Kelechi Iheanacho’s wonder-strike.
The Leicester City striker was afforded time to take a touch just inside the box, but there was little Mohamed El-Shenawy could do about the finish as Iheanacho rifled into the top-right corner as the ball sat up nicely for him.
The lively Taiwo Awoniyi thought he had made it 2-0 early in the second half, but his header was adjudged to have been saved right on the line.
A poor touch then robbed Iheanacho of the chance to slot into an empty net, before the quiet Salah was crowded out just in time as he got a feeble shot away in a rare sighting of goal for Egypt.
The Pharaohs put in a stuttering display in which they struggled to find any kind of foothold in the game, while the Super Eagles were more aggressive and cohesive, deservedly claiming the victory.
Egypt will now be playing catch-up on matchday two as they face Guinea-Bissau. Nigeria could potentially secure passage to the knockouts against Sudan.