A second-half goal by Salomon Kalou earned Ivory Coast a 1-0 victory over Nigeria in a clash of heavyweights at the African Nations Cup on Monday.
The Chelsea striker netted on 66 minutes against the run of play to give the Elephants a dream start in Group B at the Essipon stadium.
Both teams struggled to play lively football in scorching heat, with the temperature reaching 35 degrees Celsius. Nigeria had the best chances with Olympique Marseille defender Taye Taiwo hitting Boubacar Barry's bar with a powerful free kick after 14 minutes.
In the group's second game later on Monday (1930 GMT), Mali faced Benin, who are making their second appearance in the tournament.