Kelechi Iheanacho's stunning first-half goal earned Nigeria a well-deserved 1-0 victory over Mohamed Salah's Egypt to kick off Group D in the Africa Cup of Nations.
After a slow start to the game, the Leicester forward slammed home a shot from inside the area in the first half from Joe Aribo's headed knock-down, as the Super Eagles recorded the sixth 1-0 victory in the first eight matches of this tournament.
It was a disappointing night for Liverpool winger Salah, who barely got in the game in Garoua - but the 29-year-old did have a golden chance to level when he went through one-on-one after half-time, but saw his effort saved.
But Nigeria were worthy winners and should easily have doubled their lead when former Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi struck the crossbar early in the second half, while Iheanacho wasted more chances to add to his tally.
A tense and cagey start to Cameroon's Africa Cup of Nations was expected to end as two of the favourites for the tournament met in Garoua for a highly-anticipated encounter.
Despite barely threatening the Super Eagles goal all game, it was Egypt who had the first chance of the tie as Mostafa Mohamed got down the right-hand side but could only sting the palms of Maduka Okoye at the near post.
Nigeria then took control of the match, with left-winger Moses Simon of French side Nantes impressing most on the wing. The 26-year-old found some space in the box later in the first half but could only hit the side-netting in one of the best opportunities of the opening period.
But the deadlock was finally broken on the half-hour mark and it was no surprise that the lively winger Simon was at the heart of the move. The Nigeria wide man put an excellent ball into the Egypt box, which was cleared as far as Joe Aribo.
The Rangers man knocked the ball down to Iheanacho with his head, who took a touch before slamming the ball into the top of the net.
Liverpool winger Salah looked on dejected as Nigeria's players celebrate their opener, in what was an extremely frustrating game for the Egypt captain, who was playing in a center-forward position on Tuesday night.
Salah ended up touching the ball just 14 times in the opening period, the fewest tally from any Egypt player, highlighting his team's inability to get him in the game.
Nigeria continued dominance of the game after half-time and spurned a golden chance to make it 2-0 just a couple of minutes after the restart.
Former Chelsea and Fulham defender Ola Aina managed to hook in a cross from the right towards striker Taiwo Awoniyi - once of Liverpool - at the near post.
The 24-year-old forward, who has 14 goals for Union Berlin so far this season, could only strike the bar from two yards out - and protested that the ball crossed the line to spare him the embarrassment of letting a sitter go to waste.
As the Super Eagles continued to spurn missed chances - goalscorer Iheanacho couldn't get his feet together with the goal gaping and also missed an effort at the near post from inside the box - Egypt boss Carlos Queiroz turned to his bench for support.
The introduction of winger Zizo in the second half made some impact on his team's bluntness up front, with the substitute nearly gifting Salah an equalizer.
The 26-year-old's disguised chip gave Salah the chance to run through on goal, but could not get the ball past Okoye - who stuck out a leg from close range.
And Zizo did manage to force a VAR check late on when he went down after Simon slipped inside his own box - but referee Bakary Gassama did not award a spot-kick after two pauses for the video technology.
Those opportunities ended up being rare forays for Egypt as Nigeria used the final minutes to press for a second. Substitute Chidera Ejuke saw two efforts saved by Egypt shot-stopper Mohammed El Shawany at the near post, but Iheanacho's first-half effort ended up being enough.
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