Samuel Kalu was the match-winner as Nigeria overturned an early Stephane Sessegnon strike to defeat Benin 2-1 at the Godswill Akpabio Stadium, Uyo on Wednesday.
The Squirrels surprised their hosts when Sessegnon opened the scoring in the second minute, after sloppy defending allowed the visitors’ talisman to send the ball past Daniel Akpeyi.
Gernot Rohr’s troops were stunned following Benin’s goal, and they struggled to regain their composure in the aftermath of their West African neighbours going in front.
The Super Eagles only settled as half-time approached with Samuel Chukwueze hitting the frame of the goal in the 40th minute.
The three-time African champions weren’t to be denied, though, as Victor Osimhen dispatched a penalty on the stroke of the break after Ola Aina was fouled.
Rohr’s men started the second-half the brighter of the two sides without really making Fabien Farnolle work in the Benin goal.
Be that as it may, the hosts completed the comeback just after the hour mark. Bordeaux wideman Kalu beat a couple of defenders and shot past Farnolle, who had no chance as the effort was cleanly struck and well placed.
It remained that way, with Rohr’s side comfortably seeing out the rest of the encounter in Uyo.
In Group L’s other fixture, Sierra Leone and Lesotho played out a 1-1 draw at the Siaka Stevens Stadium.
Kwame Quee netted the Leone Stars’ goal in the 70th minute, and it seemed to be ending that way until Jane Thabantso levelled in the 90th minute.
Both sides were reduced to 10 men as John Bankole Camara and Basia Makepe both received red cards late in the second half.
Rohr’s men face Lesotho at the Setsoto Stadium on Sunday as they look to make it two wins from two in the group.