The Leicester City striker scored the only goal of the game, leaving Nigeria’s beleaguered savings behind.
Kelechi Iheanacho scores as Nigeria struggles in attack African Cup of Nations Cameroon beat a disappointing Egyptian Garoua 1-0 behind them on Tuesday.
After a Group D opener that included Guinea-Bissau and Sudan, the Leicester City striker struck after 30 minutes to take the Super Eagles to the top of the table.
Nigeria sacked Germany coach Gernot Rolle in December after a lacklustre World Cup qualifying performance and put former national star Augustin Eguaven in charge on an interim basis.
For various reasons, Eguawan’s side are without strikers Victor Osmeen, Emmanuel Dennis and Odion Ighalo, but his side have made him a good match for Mohamed Salah. Proud captain of Egypt.
Prolific Liverpool scorer Salah barely touched the ball and had just one chance to equalise late in the second half.
A cautious opening half dominated by Nigeria came alive in the 26th minute when winger Moses Simon, hiding in the Egyptian backline, fired into the side-netting from a difficult angle.
Simon was instrumental four minutes later when the Super Eagles took the lead at the 30,000-strong Roumde Adjia stadium in the northwestern city of Garoua.
His cross was only partially cleared by Ahmed Hegazi and Nigerian Joseph Aribo sent the ball into the path of Ishinacho, who half-volleyed past goalkeeper Mohamed El Sheenavi.
A feisty Nigerian team deserved to be up front against lethargic opponents, with Salah lacking possession in the 30C (86F) heat.
Iheanacho almost scored Nigeria’s second goal before half-time, but his pass to Taiwo Awoniyi was too strong and Elchenavi sprinted over the line to receive the ball.
Egypt were almost more behind a few minutes into the second half when Erchenavi’s hand caught Avoniyi’s header, which restarted the game from under the crossbar.
Simon’s pace has always been a threat on the left, with Nigerian goalkeeper Maduka Okoye just a bystander, with Egypt unable to apply pressure.
Salah, with his short hair, finally got his chance in the final quarter of the game, but his close-range shot was blocked by Okoye’s foot and cleared.