Kelechi Iheanacho overshadowed fellow Premier League stars Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez on Tuesday as Nigeria made a winning start to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign and title-holders Algeria were held.
The Leicester City 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 Salah and Manchester City winger Mahrez failed to fire.
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.
Speedy winger Moses Simon played a major role when the Super Eagles took the lead at the 30,000-capacity stadium.
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.
After the later Group D match Guinea-Bissau are still without a win in three Cup of Nations appearances as Judilson ‘Pele’ Gomes missed a penalty and the woodwork saved Sudan twice in a 0-0 draw.
Algeria were hot favourites to win the opening Group E match against Sierra Leone, a lowly ranked team making a first Afcon appearance since 1996.
But captain Mahrez could not inspire his team in the Atlantic port city of Douala and several excellent saves by Sierra Leone goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara had him voted man of the match.
His finest moment came during the second half when Yacine Brahimi broke through, but the goalkeeper held his shot at the second attempt.
Ivory Coast, considered the biggest threat to Algeria in the section, face Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday in a match offering both teams a chance to top the table.
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