Holders Egypt make flying start

Egypt 3 Nigeria 1
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The Independent Online

Egypt made a winning start to the defence of their African Nations Cup crown with an impressive fightback against Nigeria in Group C.

The holders went behind when Chinedu Obasi Ogbuke scored against the run of play. Egypt equalised through Emad Moteab, however, before Ahmed Hassan's deflected effort sealed a turnaround for Hassan Shehata's side. Substitute Mohamed Gedo grabbed a late third.

Egypt forced the first opening after five minutes when Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama had to be alert to deflect Mohamed Zidan's right-footed shot over. They were stunned in the 12th minute, though, when Nigeria took the lead in style. Picking up the ball on the right, Obasi was allowed to cut inside and force his way to the edge of the area. With the Egyptian defenders backing off, Obasi rifled a left-footed shot beyond a helpless Essam El Hadary.

Left-back Hany Said fired off target at the other end and Ayegbeni Yakubu appealed in vain for a penalty after seeing a cross blocked by an unwitting Egyptian arm. Seconds later Kala Uche blasted a loose ball over when he should have done better.

Egypt equalised in the 35th minute. Moteab caught Joseph Yobo napping from Hassan's ball and stayed onside, evading the onrushing goalkeeper to calmly slot home.

Hassan then turned the game on its head by putting Egypt ahead in the 54th minute. Zidan held the ball up expertly before laying it back to his captain, whose powerful right-footed effort deflected off Taye Taiwo's backside and into the net. The win was wrapped up by Gedo who broke clear and rifled in a low shot three minutes from time.

For the Nigerians, Everton's Yakubu played 90 minutes while Chelsea's Mikel John Obi started the match but was ineffective and was replaced by Portsmouth's Nwankwo Kanu.

*The Barcelona and Mali midfielder Seydou Keita believes the African Nations Cup should have been cancelled following the attack on the Togo team bus that left three people dead. "If only the competition had been cancelled," he said. "You can't leave home to die. I am scared because I don't know this country. After seeing what happened to Togo, I am scared. You don't know when a problem could happen again. My only worry is returning home."

Match guide: Fixtures

CAMEROON v GABON Group C, 4pm (Eurosport)

Rigobert Song takes part in a record eighth African Nations Cup as Cameroon open their campaign. The former Liverpool defender hopes to continue his country's recent good form against Gabon, having beaten them twice in September to end Gabon's chances of qualifying for this summer's World Cup.

ZAMBIA v TUNISIA Group D, 6.30pm (Eurosport)

After failing to reach the World Cup, Zambia have been ordered by president Rupiah Banda to win the tournament in Angola. Tunisia will be equally keen to begin proceedings with a victory following a shock defeat to Gambia in a warm-up game at the weekend.

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