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Sunday, January 16, 2022

Egypt reach quarter-finals


Champions Egypt reached the last eight of the Africa Cup of Nations thanks to a 2-0 victory over Mozambique.

The Pharaohs took the lead just after the break when Dario Khan inadvertently converted an Ahmed Fathi cross into his own net.

And in the final 10 minutes Mohamed Gedo sealed the win after hitting a volley from the edge of the box.

The victory gave the Pharaohs a maximum six points from two games to earn their place in the quarter-finals.

They also set a new tournament record of 15 matches unbeaten which started from 2004, eclipsing Cameroon’s previous feat.

The Egyptians will be seeking to finish top of the group when they play Benin on Wednesday to keep them course for a third successive title.

While the Pharaohs are assured of a place in the next phase of the competition, Mozambique on the hand must beat Nigeria to stand any chance of advancing.

Even though the six-time African champions won the game, the Mambas were no pushovers.

Mozambique made the north Africans look a pale shadow of the side which so effectively defeated Nigeria 3-1 on Wednesday, as they dominated the early exchanges.

They served their intention of eyeing an upset when Goncalves Fumo hit a 30-yard drive but goalkeeper Essam El Hadari had it well covered.

Fumo fired another long-range effort wide before an inviting free-kick from Mexer was deflected for a corner.

But Egypt rallied and from the skilful midfielder Mahmoud Shikabala, the Pharaohs created chances but they were profligate.

The Zamalek man beat the offside trap on 27 minutes but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Kampango and when he lifted the ball over the shot stopper moments later the Mozambican defenders were at hand to clear the danger.

Shikabala set up Mohamed Zidan for another glorious opportunity but Kampango managed to save the shot.

The Pharaohs were not to be denied and two minutes after the interval went ahead when Khan shot into his own net from Fathi’s inviting cross.

It was the Qatar-based defender’s second own goal in as many matches after handing Benin the advantage in their opening game.

Mozambique fought back gallantly and Tico Tico was unlucky to have been ruled offside when he found the net in the 58th minute.

But Egypt put the game out of the Mambas’ reach after Abd Rabou Motaeb picked out Gedo on the edge of the area.

The home-based player sweetly volleyed beyond Kampongo’s dive for his second goal of the tournament.

Mozambique’s Dutch coach Mart Nooij was delighted with his side’s showing even though their chances of reaching the last eight hangs by a thread.

“We made it very hard for Egypt, who are the reigning African champions,” said Nooij.

“We gave away a goal early in the second half and so had to chase the game, otherwise it would have been a lot more difficult for them to beat us.”


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