Guinea's 4-1 win over Madagascar saw them move clear at the top of Group B of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers as Nigeria drew 2-2 in Ethiopia.
The Super Eagles flew to Addis Ababa in high spirits after a 4-1 friendly triumph over a second-string Argentina team four days ago in Abuja.
Ikechukwu Uche put the visitors ahead midway through the first half but goals just before and after half-time by Saladin Seid turned the tide.
The home team were four minutes from a shock win when Joseph Yobo equalised.
Nigeria coach Samson Siasia blamed the Ethiopian capital's high altitude and fatigue for his side's uninspired performance.
"The altitude was a big problem and fatigue as well - we didn't rest that well," he said after the match.
"The journey was too much for us, it was seven hours."
FA officials in Lagos have been criticised for not preparing sufficiently well for the tie, since the team arrived in Addis Ababa just hours before kick-off.
Ethiopia, who lost a home warm-up match to Sudan last weekend, were a transformed team in their first competitive match under new Belgian coach Tom Saintfeit.
He previously coached Namibia with limited success before being hired by Zimbabwe.
But he had to flee that country to dodge immigration officials wanting to detain him for training the national squad without a work permit.
Guinea took the lead in Conakry against Madagascar through Oumar Kalabane as early as the sixth minute.
Striker Ismael Bangoura doubled that lead 12 minutes later and then Arsene Fayed pulled one back for Madagascar before half-time.
Two quick goals arond the hour mark from Sadio Diallo and then veteran defender Bobo Balde secured the win for Guinea.
Guinea top the group with 10 points, three clear of Nigeria - both sides have two games remaining and play each other on the final day in October.