Former Watford striker Odion Ighalo came off the bench to give an underwhelming Nigeria a 1-0 victory over Africa Cup of Nations debutants Burundi in Group B.

The minnows, ranked 134th in the world, were the better side in the first half of yesterday's game, with Frederic Nsabiyumva hitting the crossbar.

However, their dream start was spoiled by the former Hornets striker, who scored within five minutes of coming on as a second-half substitute.

The Super Eagles, making their first appearance since winning the trophy in 2013 having missed the last two editions, came into the tournament as joint-third favourites but their performance did not suggest that.

Despite starting with Leicester's Wilfred Ndidi, Arsenal's Alex Iwobi, former Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel and Villarreal's Samuel Chukwueze, the three-time winners struggled to impose themselves on their underdog opponents.

Burundi showed all the promise which had seen them come through their qualifying group as unbeaten runners-up, but they just could not make the breakthrough when on top.

Ighalo, Nigeria's leading scorer in qualifying, came on in the 73rd minute and converted the best move of the match.

He latched on to the London-born former Chelsea academy graduate Ola Aina's clever defence-splitting backheel to bend a shot around goalkeeper Jonathan Nahimana and inside the far post