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Odion Ighalo stepped off the bench to score the only goal as Nigeria broke off the resilience of debutants Burundi to beat them 1-0 at the Alexandria Stadium on Saturday night. 

Ighalo replaced Paul Ebere Onuachu on 72 minutes and has only spent 4 mins on the pitch before China - based forward calmly beat Burundi keeper Jonathan Nahimana on a one-on-one after running through to a back heel through pass assist from Ola Aina.
Even as debutants, Les Hirondelles showed they were not afraid of taking on the continent’s big giants as they had the best chances to break the deadlock in the first 13 minutes.
In the 14th minute, a well weighted ball from Gael Bigirimana in midfield landed perfectly on Cedric Amissi’s racing feet inside the box with the winger setting himself up with the first touch, but his effort was too close to the Nigerian keeper Daniel Akpeyi.
Bigirimana had another brilliant opportunity when he struck a stinging freekick from range in the 28th minute with Akpeyi being forced to fist it away as it came with pace and power.
Samuel Chukwueze was the most exciting player off the left wing as his pace and trickery on the ball often proved to be too much to bear for the Burundian defenders.
Nigeria were forced to make a change six minutes to the break when Abdullahi Shehu was stretchered off and his place taken by Chidozie Awaziem on the right side of defence.

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Super Eagles resumed more hungrier in the second half and played with sense of urgency.
Six minutes after the restart, Kenneth Omeruo’s header at the back post off a Peter Etebo freekick went inches wide. In the 70th minute, Chukweuze had a chance with a dinking effort as he raced though on goal from the left but the effort was over.
Burundi almost got an equalizer when Akpeyi made an error handling a cross, but Fiston could not take advantage, his shot at goal blocked.
Midfield Marshal Wilfred Ndidi was voted Total Man of the Match and presented the award immediately after the game. 
Burundi’s next game will be against fellow debutants Madagascar who drew 2-2 against Guinea on Wednesday while Nigeria will face Guinea in a must win encounter on thursday to secure their place in the second round of the tournament.

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