ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (Reuters) – Nigeria needed a late goal from substitute Odion Ighalo to claim a 1-0 win over a brave Burundi side playing their first-ever match at the Africa Cup of Nations on Saturday.
Ighalo was set free by Ola Aina’s clever flicked pass and side-footed the ball past Burundi goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana in the 77th minute, four minutes after coming on in the opening Group B match.
It was tough on Burundi who refused to be overawed and enjoyed slightly the better of the first half with Frederic Nsabiyumva heading against the crossbar from a set-piece.
Nigeria took control after halftime but were struggling to create chances until Aina’s moment of inspiration finally unlocked the Burundi defence.
Madagascar, also making their debut at the tournament, were facing Guinea in the second half of a double bill later on Saturday at the same stadium.
(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)