Mohammed Salah scored a late equaliser to rescue Egypt from defeat as they drew 1-1 in their third Africa Cup of Nations qualifying game against Nigeria.
Etebo Oghenekaro slotted past Ahmed El-Shennawi to give Samson Siasia’s side a deserved lead against the Pharaohs who were dogged in defence.
Kelechi Iheanacho hit the crossbar with a fierce shot and the Warri Wolves midfielder tuck home the rebound to north Africans’ dismay.
Nigeria thought they had won the game in the 90th minute when Salah beat the offside trap to fire past impressive Carl Ikeme to save Hector Cuper’s side from defeat.
Super Eagles continue to trail Group G leaders Pharaohs by two points, while Tanzania are back up to third in the table, three points adrift Egypt in the race to Gabon 2017.
played behind the Eagles’ defence and put one-on-one with Ikeme but he couldn’t find the target firing his left-footed shot wide of the post.
The home side were looking dangerous and Cuper’s men were grateful to El-Shennawi who made a great block to deny Ahmed Musa’s goal-bound effort after the striker had found space inside the area.
Nigeria finally carved out an opening in the 34th minute when Simon raided down the right and hit a sublime cross towards the penalty spot where he found Ighalo who headed the ball towards goal but El-Shennawi made an excellent save.
Iheanacho and Mikel were struggling to take control of the midfield with many misplaced passes which often put the visitors on the back. Efe Ambrose nearly made them pay for one mistake when the hosts hit them on the counter but his shot from outside the area hit the bar before going over.
Nigeria came out in the second half with more impetus and Iheanacho, who was anonymous for most of the opening period, came to life and found saw his effort kiss the cross bar before Oghenekaro tapped home.
The Eagles were really starting to hit their stride and should have doubled the lead through Ighalo but he somehow missed the target from just five yards after being expertly found by Musa with a pinpoint cross.
Despite Nigeria’s dominance in the second-half, Egypt still looked dangerous on the break and Elneny almost pulled his side back after being put behind the Eagles’ defence but Godfrey Oboabona was equal to his shot making a good save to turn the ball past the post.
However Nigeria’s joy of victory was short-lived when Etebo turned villain as he played Salah onside in stoppage time and the Roma winger volleyed into the net from six-yards to save the Pharaohs from succumbing to defeat.