The second true heavyweight match of the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations saw Nigeria take firm control of Group D with a 1-0 victory over Mohamed Salah and Egypt.
After Monday’s game between Morocco and Ghana saw the Atlas Lions come away with a 1-0 victory, we were treated to another matchup of expected title contenders, and the result showed one side is far more prepared to push for the crown than the other.
Liverpool superstar Salah was entirely locked down, with little to show for his 90-minute effort as Nigeria smothered the Egyptian playmaker. Kelechi Iheanacho’s first-half goal proved the difference as Nigeria fended off a late Pharaohs push to claim all three points.
MORE: Premier League players at AFCON 2022
Both teams are expected to progress from Group D despite today’s result, but Nigeria’s victory sets up the Super Eagles nicely for a better Round of 16 matchup and a deep run deep in the tournament, while Egypt will feel added pressure in its other group stage matches against Guinea-Bissau and Sudan.
Nigeria vs. Egypt final score
30th min – NIG – Kelechi Iheanacho
(All times Eastern)
Final: Nigeria 1, Egypt 0
Another 1-0 result in this AFCON tournament is a deserved victory for the Super Eagles, who were simply the better side. A structured Nigeria side comprehensively swallowed up Mohamed Salah and nobody else on Egypt stepped up. Zizo came off the bench and gave the Pharoahs a chance, but it wasn’t enough.
For Nigeria, Moses Simon was easily the Man of the Match, with a blistering performance down the left flank. The Super Eagles have one foot in the knockout stage with the early haymaker.
That was a statement performance by Nigeria.
Egypt were poor but that was partly down to the solidity of the Super Eagles.
Kelechi and Co looking sharp. #AFCON2021
— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) January 11, 2022
92nd min.: Game is wide open now. Egypt wins another corner that produces a number of chances but no goal. Nigeria then goes on the counter and forces El Shenawi into a save on substitute Chidera Ejuke. Both teams throwing everything at bagging a decisive goal.
89th min.: Egypt throwing on its final substitution in Mohamed Sherif, while Nigeria brings on Alex Iwobi to replace the fabulous Moses Simon.
Egypt’s corner comes to nothing as Zizo, who’s been bright, sees his cross sent into the side netting. We head to four minutes of added time. Nigeria hanging on.
84th minute: Wilfred Ndidi goes down with what looks like cramps, but when the stretcher comes out to get him off the field, he gets up and steps over the stretcher Allen Iverson-esque. That draws the ire of Salah who knows what Ndidi’s up to.
Egypt with a corner, stunningly its first of the match. It’s an excellent delivery, but the eventual shot by Hegazy is just looped over the crossbar. Egypt running out of chances to snatch a point.
Nigeria playing like actual BIG BOYS! Solid football so far in this game. Egypt will have to dig deep if they want to get anything here. #AFCON2021
— Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) January 11, 2022
76th min.: A wild spell of play nearly sees Nigeria double the lead with the Egyptian goalkeeper off his line, but nobody can put the ping-ponging ball into the back of the net. A moment later substitute Chidera Ejuke rips a tight-angle shot that’s saved by El-Shenawi. Nigeria just cannot find the net again to secure all three points. Worrying for Super Eagles fans.
Also worrying, Nigerian defender Kenneth Omeruo is stretchered off and replaced by West Brom defender Semi Ajayi. Augustine Eguavoen also withdraws goalscorer Kelechi Iheanacho, replaced by Kelechi Nwakali.
70th min.: Salah again! He’s through on goal right down the middle, but as he collects the ball with his back to goal and then turns to shoot, his effort was stuffed by Nigerian goalkeeper Maduka Okoye. Sparta Rotterdam’s young goalkeeper did very well to get his left foot to the shot. Salah was put under pressure by the defender but should have done better, after timing his run perfectly.
Nigeria has not managed to kill off the game, and Egypt is finally getting Salah involved. There’s still drama in this…
66th min.: Salah’s first chance of the match sees the Liverpool man go full karate kick on a cross from the right, but it’s blocked and then the offside flag goes up. It’s been that kind of game for Salah.
The fact it has taken 66 minutes for Mohamed Salah to have a shot is a worrying sign for Egypt
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) January 11, 2022
63rd min.: The Egyptian substitutions do appear to have had an effect on the match over the last few minutes, but Nigeria has not been tested of yet. Ola Aina has a go from distance but can’t add to the Nigerian lead as it goes well over and into the stands.
58th min.: HUGE miss by Nigeria! For all the world it should be 2-0, but a bruuuuutal heavy touch by Iheanacho with the goal completely wide open ends the opportunity. The goalkeeper had come out to smother the ball but whiffed. That left with Iheanacho the entire net to shoot at, but he couldn’t control the pass from Ola Aina who created the chance. A massive letoff for Egypt.
Carlos Queiroz responds by withdrawing Trezeguet for Zizo and bringing on Ramadan Sobhi for striker Mostafa Mohamed. A double change for Egypt which has now used four of its five substitutes, while Nigeria hasn’t made one.
57th min.: Oh my, Simon absolutely sends Abdelmoneim for a hot dog to get free down the left on a one-two through the Egyptian defender’s legs, but his cross is just over the head of a teammate on the doorstep. What a performance he’s put in.
54th min.: Nigerian pressure forcing the Egyptian midfielders very deep, which has pushed the game mostly into the Egyptian half of the pitch.
But big issue for #TeamEgypt is that their double 8’s are not helping in progression of the ball, M.Elnemy is getting more deep similar context as Trezeguet and are not getting behind #TeamNigeria midfielders and you can see their distribution below ..(passes plus possession) pic.twitter.com/qNldYcOKsp
— Prosper Bartalomew (@prosperbartha) January 11, 2022
49th min.: Nigeria picking right up where it left off in the first half, already with a number of good chances, including a headed effort by Awoniyi which forced a save by El-Shenawi, who palms it up and then off the underside of the crossbar. Very close!
46th min.: We’re back underway for the second half, with a substitution for Egypt as head coach Carlos Queiroz brings on Ayman Ashraf to replace Ahmed Abou El-Fotouh. That’s a center back for a left back, which suggests a change of formation. We’ll see how, exactly.
Nigeria straight into the attack to earn a corner, but Kenneth Oumero puts his header wide.
Halftime: Nigeria 1, Egypt 0
Nigeria was clearly the better side in the opening 45 minutes, there’s no debating that fact. Moses Simon caused all kinds of problems down the left flank, helped by an early injury to Egypt right back Akram Tawfik. A fantastic first half for the Super Eagles, who see themselves in front.
Egypt hardly had a touch in the Nigerian third of the pitch, and Mohamed Salah was nowhere to be found. The Liverpool forward made just five successful passes in the entire first half, with four of those coming in his own half of the pitch. The Pharaohs have no answer when the opponent double- and triple-teams its star man. Big changes need at halftime to break down a well-organized Nigerian side.
?? Kelechi Iheanacho has been directly involved in 4 goals in his last 3 games for club & country:
?️?️⚽️ vs Man City
⚽️ vs Egypt
A fantastic strike to open the scoring for Nigeria in #AFCON2021 pic.twitter.com/AOLmhMt8Bl
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) January 11, 2022
HT: Nigeria 1-0 Egypt. The Super Eagles have completely bossed the first half. Moses Simon has been imperious (but for the crosses) and that Iheanacho goal was richly deserved. Should have been at least 2-0 tbh.
Best part is the high press and organization. #NGAEGY #AFCON2021
— Colin NOT Collins ???? (@ColinUdoh) January 11, 2022
44th min.: Moses Simon continues to cause all kinds of problems for Egypt, getting past defenders and sending a cross in to Samuel Chukwueze, but the Villarreal man can’t get his head to the ball. Egypt just cannot contain Simon down the left.
37th min.: Egypt has held more possession since the goal, but the Pharaohs haven’t done anything with it. Egypt has just one shot so far this entire match, a fair representation of their anemic attack.
Down the other end, Nigeria midfielder Wilfred Ndidi has a go from distance but it’s scuffed wide right.
30th min.: GOAL! Nigeria! A deserved goal comes off the left foot of Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho who RIPS a shot into the top-right corner, unsaveable for Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawi. It started again with Simon down the left, and Egypt’s clearance only reached Joe Aribo who headed down to Iheanacho. The Foxes frontman did really well, receiving the ball with his back to goal, turning to his left and rippling the net with a powerful effort.
Egypt needs a reply, the Pharaohs have been second-best in the opening half-hour, and now they trail.
Felt that was coming Super finish from Iheanacho
— keith costigan (@KeithCostigan) January 11, 2022
Typical Iheanacho goal. No backlift. Just strike it true. Nigeria lead 1-0. But credit to Moses Simon. Has been the most dangerous player all game #NGAEGY #AFCON2021
— Colin NOT Collins ???? (@ColinUdoh) January 11, 2022
26th min.: First chance in what feels like ages, Nigeria comes close. Nantes winger Moses Simon uses blistering speed to go right around an Egyptian defender, but his shot is blasted into the side netting. Hopefully that wakes this game up some. It’s been all Super Eagles so far.
Nigeria outplaying Egypt right now. Pressing, looking to enter final third in super fast speed. Imagine if they had their full squad available. A lot of promise, just need the end product.
— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) January 11, 2022
23rd min.: Again play is stopped as the officials head over to a tent to check the match ball. This is getting ridiculous.
At least the venue looks enjoyable, although the amount of empty seats is surprising for such a highly anticipated match.
20th min.: There’s been some issues with the ball. Officials forced to find a new one for the second time, seems to be an issue with air pressure.
Nearly a quarter through the match, Nigeria has completely deflated Mohamed Salah (see what I did there?). He’s completed two total passes to this point.
14th min.: Weird VAR check for contact in the box on a play that happened almost five minutes ago, but nothing comes of it. Play continues. Cagey affair so far, neither side looking to throw numbers forward.
10th min.: Egypt forced into an early change as Tawfik will not be able to continue. Mohamed Abdelmoneim is the one readying on the sidelines.
Before the change can be made, Nigeria continues to attack. Egypt is playing the complicated tactical progression of Get The Ball To Salah as they look to counter, but he’s swarmed by three green shirts on every touch. Will be tough sledding for the Liverpool star to find space in the attack. He has a target on his back.
5th min.: First half-chance for Egypt falls to striker Mostafa from a very tight angle but it’s easily saved by Nigeria goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, not truly troubling the Nigeria net. It came down the right flank with Trezeguet involved. Play is stopped for an injury to Egypt right back Akram Tawfik, and it looks troubling. Seems to be a right knee problem.
3rd min.: Nigeria is pressing Egypt hard to open the match and it’s causing the Pharaohs problems. We’ll see how long Nigeria can keep it up, but it earns an early corner.
1st min.: We’re underway! Egypt in its red kit with white shorts, while Nigeria in wearing dark green on dark green. it’s a colorful affair in Cameroon.
10:55 a.m.: The teams are out on the pitch for the national anthem. This match has the feeling of a truly anticipated match.
10:30 a.m.: Will Nigeria and Egypt bring the big guns in their first match, or will they fall victim to rustiness and misfire like many of the other top sides in the tournament so far? Algeria the latest to look less than title-worthy earlier this morning as they were stymied by Sierra Leone goalkeeper Mohamed Kamara who made seven saves and faced 19 Algeria efforts.
None of the “big” sides have played anywhere near their best yet at #AFCON2021 … Even Morocco who beat Ghana.
Lack of preparation time definitely a factor although tournaments often get off to slow starts.
— John Bennett (@JohnBennettBBC) January 11, 2022
10:27 a.m.: Salah isn’t the only one in today’s match ultimately targeting a trophy this month. Nigeria has its eye on the prize, too. Both will look to prove it today.
10:08 a.m.: Mohamed Salah has just one target for AFCON 2022.
10:01 a.m.: Lineups are in, and most of the stars for both teams start, although Nigeria has left Ahmed Musa and Alex Iwobi on the bench. See the full lineups and substitutes below.
9:33 a.m.: Nigerian legend Ahmed Musa, who boasts 102 caps and 16 international goals, is set to begin his final Africa Cup of Nations tournament. He was a central figure in the team’s AFCON 2013 tournament title and captained the side during the 2019 tournament when Nigeria reached the semifinals before losing to eventual champions Algeria.
9:25 a.m.: Egypt head coach Carlos Queiroz doesn’t like to discuss specific formations, and prefers to remain flexible. We’ll see how much fluiditiy there is today against Nigeria.
Carlos Queiroz on formations: “I care more about a dynamic system and transition between defense and attack than a specific formation.” #TeamEgypt #AFCON2021
— Pharaohs XI ?? (@PharaohsXI) January 10, 2022
Nigeria vs. Egypt lineups
Several of Nigeria’s stars play in the top leagues in Europe, which will make the Super Eagles a tough out for Egypt.
Expected to deploy a 3-CB formation as Augustine Eguavoen has done previously, he has reverted to a more traditional 4-4-2, with Iheanacho up front. Surprisingly, Everton’s Alex Iwobi starts the match on the bench, as does Nigerian legend Ahmed Musa.
Nigeria starting lineup (4-4-2): Okoye – Aina, Omeruo, Ekong, Zaidu – Chukwueze, Ndidi, Aribo, Simon – Iheanacho, Awoniyi.
Nigeria subs (12): Onyekuru, Ejuke, Iwobi, Musa, Sadiq, Nwakali, Onyeka, Ebuehi, Ajayi, Ndah, Akepyi, Uzoho.
For Egypt, Premier League stars Mohamed Salah and Mohamed Elneny both get the start, as does Aston Villa playmaker Trezeguet. It’s a strong lineup for Egypt, with the well-known players supporting Stuttgart youngster Omar Marmoush and Galatasaray striker Mostafa Mohamed up front.
While the lineup features many of Egypt’s best players, there was significant rotation during recent CAF World Cup qualifying in the fall, meaning there could be signs of unfamiliarity on the pitch.
Egypt starting lineup (4-2-3-1): El-Shenawy – Fetouh, El-Wensh, Hegazi, Akram – Hamdi, Elneny – Salah, Trezeguet, Marmoush – Mostafa.
Egypt subs (12): Sherif, Ashour, Lasheen, Sobhi, El Said, Zizo, Kamal, Abdelmoneim, El-Din, Ashraf, Gad, Sobhi.
How to watch Nigeria vs. Egypt
- Date: Tuesday, Jan. 11
- Time: 11 a.m. ET
- TV Channel: beIN Sports
- Spanish Language: beIN Sports en Espanol
- Streaming: fuboTV (free trial for new users)
The match will be carried live on beIN Sports primary English- and Spanish-language channels in the USA and Canada.
Pre-match betting lines, picks & predictions
Pick : Draw & over 1.5 (+380)
Prediction : Nigeria 1-1 Egypt
- Moneyline : Nigeria +220 / Draw +185 / Egypt +165
- Spread : Egypt pick’em (-130) / Nigeria pick’em (+115)
- O/U 1.5 total goals : Over -145/ Under +125
- Both teams to score : Yes +125 / No -160