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Kelechi Iheanacho Outshines Salah And Mahrez In Tuesday’s Matches
By on January 12th, 2022. Sports
Kelechi Iheanacho overshadowed his Premier League teammates Mohamed Salah and Riyad Mahrez on Tuesday as Nigeria made a winning start to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign and defending champions Algeria took place.

The Leicester City striker scored the only goal in the 30th minute as Nigeria beat a lacklustre Egypt 1-0 in a Group D heavyweight clash 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 striker Salah and Manchester City winger Mahrez did not shine.


Captain Salah cut a frustrated lone figure at the Roumde Adjia Stadium and when he had a chance to score in the second half, his prod was saved by the boot of goalkeeper Maduka Okoye.

It was an otherwise uneventful night for the Nigerian goalkeeper, who should have expected to be called into action more often against the record seven-time African champions.

We had three things in mind: win, keep the ball and cut off Salah’s supply – said Nigeria’s interim coach Augustine Eguavoen.

“Every game will be treated as a final because every Cameroonian team must be respected regardless of the name of the country.

“There are no more minor football nations in Africa, so if you don’t plan and make the effort, you can be shocked.”

This was the eighth meeting of the Super Eagles and Pharaohs in Africa’s flagship tournament and three-time champions Nigeria have won four and drawn two.

Nigeria succeeded after a difficult build-up during which German coach Gernot Rohr was sacked following an unimpressive World Cup qualifying run and former national star Eguavoen took over as caretaker coach.

Eguavoen’s team was without strikers Victor Osimhen, Emmanuel Dennis and Odion Ighalo for various reasons, but his team went on the offensive from the kick-off and did him proud.

Fast winger Moses Simon played a major role as the Super Eagles took the lead at the 30,000 capacity stadium.

His cross was only partially cleared by Ahmed Hegazy and Nigeria’s Joseph Aribo gave a nod to Iheanacho, who hammered a half-volley past goalkeeper Mohamed Elshenawy.

Guinea-Bissau were still without a win in three Nations Cup matches after the final Group D game, with Judilson ‘Pele’ Gomes missing a penalty and the woodwork saving twice from Sudan in a 0-0 draw.

Algeria were heavy favourites to win their Group E opener against Sierra Leone, a low-ranked side making their first Nations Cup appearance since 1996.

But captain Mahrez could not inspire his team in the Atlantic port city of Douala and several excellent saves from Sierra Leone goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara saw him voted man of the match.

His best moment came in the second half when Yacine Brahimi broke through, but the goalkeeper held his shot at the second attempt.

Côte d’Ivoire, considered Algeria’s biggest threat in the section, face Equatorial Guinea on Wednesday in a match that offers both teams a chance to top the standings.

The draw allowed Algeria to extend their remarkable unbeaten run in the competition to 35 games, just two short of Italy’s record of 37 without defeat.

The heat and humidity of a mid-afternoon kick-off at Japoma Stadium did not help, but Sierra Leone deserve huge credit for their display

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