Nigeria survived a late Rwanda onslaught to force a 0-0 draw at Stade de Kigali Wednesday in a 2013 Africa Cup of Nations first round qualifier.
The Super Eagles were playing their first competitive match under new coach Stephen Keshi and will be favoured to reach the final elimination round after the mid-June return match.
Keshi had warned his mix of local and overseas-based stars to expect a battle at the compact 22,000-capacity ground in the Rwandan capital, and so it proved with the home team much improved under new Serb coach Milutin Sredojevic.
There was no joy for Indian Ocean island teams with Madagascar crashing 4-0 to the Cape Verde Islands and the Seychelles slumping by the same score against the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ryan da Graca and Eduardo Gomes scored in the first half and Toni Varela twice in the closing stages as the Blue Sharks of Cape Verde devoured their opponents in Antananarivo.
Dioko Kaluyituka was the hat-trick star in Victoria for the Congolese, winners of the Cup of Nations in 1968 and 1974 but not among the top 30 African teams in the FIFA rankings this month.
Mabi Mputu was also on target for the visitors, who are banking on experienced French coach Claude le Roy to lift them out of the doldrums after missing the last three Cup of Nations tournaments.
Kenya edged Togo 2-1 in Nairobi with James Situma putting the home team ahead, Razak Boukari levelling before half-time and Allan Wanga snatched a winner for the Harambee Stars.
There was also a late winner in Bujumbura as Burundi defeated new-look Zimbabwe 2-1 with the decisive goal scored by South Africa-based defender Valery Nahayo against rivals lacking several regulars involved in a match-fixing probe.
Tanzania had to fight back for a 1-1 draw against Mozambiqie in Dar es Salaam with Cleusio Bauque scoring a superb solo goal for the Mambas (Snakes) and Mwinyi Kazimoto equalising.
A second-half brace from Leger Djime earned Chad a thrilling 3-2 victory over Malawi in N'Djamena where Mahamat Labbo was also on target for the home team and Atusaye Nyondo and Atletico Madrid starlet Robin Ngalanda hit the Malawi goals.
Ethiopia were held 0-0 in Addis Ababa by Benin -- a satisfactory result for former France star Manuel Amoros in his competitve debut as coach of the west African Squirrels.