Home / Africa / Africa Cup of Nations 2019: Ex-Watford striker Odion Ighalo scores as Nigeria win 1-0 against Burundi

Africa Cup of Nations 2019: Ex-Watford striker Odion Ighalo scores as Nigeria win 1-0 against Burundi

Shanghai Greenland Shenhua Odion Ighalo celebrates after scoring for Nigeria against Burundi

Shanghai Greenland Shenhua striker Odion Ighalo scored four minutes after coming on as a second half substitute

Three-time winners and 2013 champions Nigeria edged past tournament debutants Burundi at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Second half substitute Odion Ighalo scored the only goal after 77 minutes in Alexandria with a curled finish past Burundi goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana.

Burundi – the lowest-ranked side at the tournament – had struck the crossbar in the first half through defender Frederic Nsabiyumva’s looping header.

Guinea face Madagascar in the other Group B match later on Saturday.

FC Midtjylland striker Paul Onuachu had Nigeria’s first real chance on goal after 12 minutes as his header forced Burundi goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana in to action.

Burundi, 134th in the world standings, remained unfazed and Cedric Amissi’s close-range shot required a good save from Nigeria’s Daniel Akpeyi.

Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi and Villarreal 20-year-old Samuel Chukwueze offered the Super Eagles’ main attacking threat, but Gernot Rohr’s side were frustrated by a resolute and organised Burundi side – captained by Stoke City striker Saido Berahino – until Ighalo’s introduction.

The Shanghai Greenland Shenhua striker, formerly of Watford, produced a quality finish just four minutes after entering the field, following Ola Aina’s delightful back-heeled pass.

Nigeria were without striker Samuel Kalu, who had been taken to hospital after suffering from “severe dehydration” in training on Friday – a day after players’ union Fifpro had called for the tournament organisers to increase their planned number of heat breaks from two to four per match.

The Super Eagles now face Guinea on Wednesday (15:30 BST), while Burundi take on fellow debutants Madagascar on Thursday (15:30).

Analysis

By BBC Africa’s Robert Misigaro:

For a first outing at a major tournament, Burundi can hold their head high as they showed an experienced Nigerian side they were ready for a showdown.

Burundi’s inexperience at this level of the game did not show in terms of discipline, approach to the game and composure, apart from a clear lack of finishers.

Even though they lost, Burundi have a lot to be proud of and can hope to do better against a lesser opponent. A 1-0 score against Nigeria in their first ever Africa Cup of Nations game is nothing to be ashamed of.

Meanwhile, Nigeria can expect anything but an easy ride in this tournament.

Live Text

Match ends, Nigeria 1, Burundi 0.

Second Half ends, Nigeria 1, Burundi 0.

Corner, Burundi. Conceded by Kenneth Omeruo.

Corner, Burundi. Conceded by Ola Aina.

Foul by Odion Ighalo (Nigeria).

Frederic Nsabiyumva (Burundi) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Substitution, Burundi. Mohamed Amissi replaces Saido Berahino.

Offside, Burundi. Gael Bigirimana tries a through ball, but Cédric Amissi is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Gaël Duhayindavyi (Burundi) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Hand ball by Ola Aina (Nigeria).

Wilfred Ndidi (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fiston Abdul Razak (Burundi).

Attempt missed. Odion Ighalo (Nigeria) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Alex Iwobi.

Chidozie Awaziem (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Frederic Nsabiyumva (Burundi).

Attempt blocked. Christophe Nduwarugira (Burundi) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cédric Amissi.

Corner, Burundi. Conceded by Chidozie Awaziem.

Foul by Odion Ighalo (Nigeria).

Frederic Nsabiyumva (Burundi) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Kenneth Omeruo (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fiston Abdul Razak (Burundi).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match because of an injury William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria).

Attempt missed. Cédric Amissi (Burundi) header from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Christophe Nduwarugira with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Alex Iwobi (Nigeria) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt saved. Elvis Kamsoba (Burundi) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Goal! Nigeria 1, Burundi 0. Odion Ighalo (Nigeria) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Ola Aina with a through ball.

Attempt blocked. Ahmed Musa (Nigeria) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Substitution, Burundi. Christophe Nduwarugira replaces Shassiri Nahimana.

Foul by Ola Aina (Nigeria).

Cédric Amissi (Burundi) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution, Nigeria. Odion Ighalo replaces Paul Onuachu.

William Troost-Ekong (Nigeria) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fiston Abdul Razak (Burundi).

Corner, Burundi. Conceded by Daniel Akpeyi.

Attempt missed. Fiston Abdul Razak (Burundi) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt missed. Samuel Chukwueze (Nigeria) left footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Alex Iwobi.

Paul Onuachu (Nigeria) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by David Nshimirimana (Burundi).

Corner, Nigeria. Conceded by David Nshimirimana.

Africa Cup of Nations 2019: Ex-Watford striker Odion Ighalo scores as Nigeria win 1-0 against Burundi

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