BENGUELA - Egypt came from behind to make a winning start to the defence of the Nations Cup as they beat Nigeria 3-1 in the opening Group C match in Benguela yesterday.
A deflected shot from veteran captain Ahmed Hassan on 54 minutes and a late goal from substitute Mohamed Nagui made sure of the points after the two sides went into half time level at 1-1.
Hassan's shot took a wicked deflection off Nigeria defender Taye Taiwo.
The diminutive midfielder had earlier started the Egyptian comeback with a defence-splitting pass that allowed Emad Moteab to round the goalkeeper and score a 34th-minute equaliser.
Nagui's 87th-minute goal came after another pass through the middle of the Nigeria defence.
Nigeria went ahead after 12 minutes with a cracking drive from the left side by Chinedu Obasi, the Bundesliga striker who had originally been left out of the squad for the trip to Angola.
The Super Eagles are using the tournament in Angola to sharpen themselves for the 2010 World Cup finals that kicks off in South Africa on June 11.
The Pharoahs have failed to book themselves a ticket to South Africa after they were edged out by fierce rivals Algeria late last year.
Nigerian coach Shuaibu Amodu may have helped the Super Eagles qualify for the World Cup, but it should be noted that they were far from impressive in their qualifiers.
There is growing dissatisfaction among their fans and Amodu is likely to be given the boot if the Super Eagles fail to impressive in Angola.
The Nigerians' second match in this biennial continental showpiece will be against Benin at 5.50pm on Saturday.
Egypt, on the other hand, engage Mozambique at 8.15pm.
Mozambique were due to meet Benin in another Group C tie last night. - Reuters and additional reporting by Sowetan