From Ayinla Bashir
Nigeria started its 2019 AFCON campaign on a winning note, beating Burundi by a lone goal in a match they heavily dominated.
The Group B clash was played at the Alexandria Stadium.
Good work in the early minutes from Burundi, who pressed high up the pitch force Nigeria onto the back foot in the early minute, before putting that under firm control.
Nigeria began to stamp their authority on the game thereafter, with Chukwueze and Iwobi looking particularly dangerous down the flanks.
Nigeria had the first effort on target in the 13th minute; a long throw-in is flicked on by Mikel and Onuachu heads on target, only for goalkeeper Nahimana to make a save.
Injury enforced change for Nigeria in the 42nd minute, as Awaziem replaced Shehu.
Nigeria blew a great chance in the 51stminute, when Etebo’s free kick delivery to the far post finds Omeruo free but the defender can’t keep his header down.
The din-dong continued, until in the 77thminute, when Aina set Ighalo up with a great back-heel, and the striker provided a perfect finish to break the deadlock.
The Swallows almost force an equaliser after some shaky goalkeeping from Akpeyi.
The China-based striker, who made a massive difference to Nigeria’s attack almost increased the tally in the 87thminute, when his long range shot narrowly went over the bar.