Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah saved Egypt from an embarrassing defeat in their opening game at the Africa Cup of Nations on January 14, while Nigerians were held by Equatorial Guinea despite Victor Osimhen getting on the scoresheet.
Ghana were also in action in Abidjan and suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Cape Verde as three nations with 14 Afcon titles between them all failed to get off to winning starts at this year’s tournament.
There was drama at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Ivory Coast’s economic capital as Egypt needed a Salah penalty seven minutes into injury time to snatch a 2-2 draw with Mozambique in Group B.
The penalty was awarded following a VAR check for a foul on Mostafa Mohamed, and Salah’s strike denied Mozambique a historic first ever Afcon win.
Mozambique has not won a game in four past appearances at the Afcon, and their winless record now spans 13 matches in total.
Salah had given record seven-time African champions Egypt the ideal start when he scored inside two minutes, but witiness Quembo and Clesio Bauque capped a turnaround on 58 minute.
Then Salah intervened to keep Egypt on track for a record-extending eighth Afcon crown and a first since 2010, before the Liverpool superstar had made his international debut.
Suddenly, Egypt’s next game against Ghana on Jan 18 could be make or break for both, with the Black Stars of Ghana reeling after conceding in injury time to lose 2-1 to Cape Verde.
The Black Stars looked set to come away with a draw after Alexander Djiku headed home on 56 minutes to cancel out Jamiro Monteiro’s first-half opener.
But Cape Verde pounced on poor defending to grab all three points in the 92nd minute, with substitute Garry Rodrigues silencing Ghana fans in the crowd of just under 12,000.