Nigeria will next play Mozambique.
Nigeria’s home based Super Eagles, Saturday night, started their campaign in the African Championship, CHAN, on a losing note as they were beaten 2-1 by the Eagles of Mali.
The Nigerian side, regarded as favourite ahead of their West African opponents, were made to chase the game all through.
Mali, after threatening the Super Eagles defence on a number of occasions, finally broke the deadlock in the 18th minute through Sissoko whose shot from the right inside Nigeria’s penalty box was slightly deflected into the net off the knees of Azubieke Egwueke.
The Super Eagles, who made their debut in the competition, were lucky not to be two goals behind just minutes later as Mali’s Lassana Diarra missed the final touch to put the goal behind Chigozie Agbim.
Despite the sustained pressure from the Malians, Nigeria held on to keep the score at 1-0 till the end of the first half.
On resumption of the second half, it was the Malians who seized the initiative once more and were rewarded five minutes into second half when Adama Traore sliced the ball between the legs of Agbim to double Mali’s lead.
Coach Stephen Keshi then made a key substitution bringing in Gbolahan Salami who pulled a goal back for Nigeria in the 54th minute.
Nigeria tried unsuccessfully to get the equaliser but Mali held on to their lead and smiled away with their first ever win over Nigeria in a competitive match at the senior level.
With South Africa also wining their opening duel 3-1 against Mozambique, the Eagles will occupy third spot after the first set of matches in Group A.
The Stephen Keshi tutored side will hope they can bounce back in their second game against Mozambique.