(CNN) -- Egypt began the defense of their Africa Cup of Nations crown with an emphatic 3-1 victory against title rivals Nigeria in Angola on Tuesday.
The Pharaohs, who have won the tournament a record six times, had to come from behind after conceding a 12th-minute goal in the Group C opener in Benguela.
Nigeria, seeking a third title, took the lead when striker Chinedu Obasi, who plays for German club Hoffenheim, cut in from the right and lashed in a fierce left-foot effort that goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary could only tip into the net.
Obasi's strike partner Aiyegbeni Yakubu thought he had earned a penalty when his cross hit the arm of Egypt defender Mahmoud Fathalla, but referee Rajindraparsad Seechurn ruled it was not intentional.
Egypt leveled in the 34th minute when Emad Moteab ran onto Ahmed Hassan's throughball, rounded Vincent Enyeama as the goalkeeper rushed out of his area, and slotted the ball into the empty net.
Captain Hassan put his side ahead nine minutes after halftime, with his shot wrong-footing Enyeama after taking a massive deflection off the backside of Taye Taiwo following a layoff from Mohamed Zidan.
Nigeria coach Shaibu Amodu surprisingly took off Chelsea midfielder Jon Obi Mikel with 10 minutes to play and replaced him with veteran Portsmouth striker Kanu.
But the move backfired as Egypt substitute Mohamed Gedo drove in a low right-foot shot on 88 to seal his side's first victory over the Super Eagles in 23 years.
The Squirrels did earn their first point, but were expecting much more after scoring twice before halfway through the opening period.
Striker Razak Omotoyossi, who plays for French club Metz, netted the opener from the penalty spot in the 14th minute after being brought down by Mozambique goalkeeper Joao Rafael.
Dario Khan then put through his own net seven minutes later as he stabbed the ball past Rafael while trying to clear a loose ball, but Almiro Lobo pulled a goal back after half an hour when he headed home as Benin defended woefully at a corner.
Substitute Goncalves Fumo leveled the score 10 minutes after halftime as goalkeeper Yoann Djidonou, who had flapped ineffectually to allow Lobo to score, was caught out after coming out of his area to clear the ball.
With the multi-ball system in operation, Mozambique took a quick throw-in and Elias Pelembe set up Fumo with Djidonou scrambling in vain back to his goal.