Egypt have closed in on qualification for the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations after they defeated eSwatini (Swaziland) 2-0 at the Mavuso Sports Centre on Tuesday afternoon.
The result takes the Pharaohs to nine points in Group J, level with leaders Tunisia. Should the Carthage Eagles avoid defeat in their match away to Niger later today, then both North African heavyweights will have secured a berth in next year’s finals.
Egypt claimed the lead 19 minutes into the match, with Ahmed Hegazi heading home from Amr Warda’s corner kick to make it 1-0 to the North Africans.
The Pharaohs enjoyed far more attacking opportunities, with the likes of Hegazi, Mahmoud Trezeguet and Marwan Mohsen missing out on presentable chances through the remainder of the first half.
However, Mohsen was on target just eight minutes into the second half, turning home an assist from half-time substitute Kouka to make it 2-0.
Neither goalkeeper was unduly troubled in the rest of the game, with Egypt happy to see out a comfortable win. Their only worry will be an injury sustained by Kouka in the dying minutes.
The teams will return to AFCON qualifying action next month, with eSwatini at home to Niger and Egypt hosting rivals Tunisia in a battle for top spot.
Egypt (1) 2 (Hegazi 19’, Mohsen 53’)
eSwatini: Sandanzwe, Maseko, M. Dlamini, B. Dlamini, Ngwenya (Mkhonta 68’), P. Dlamini (Steenkamp 54’), Mamba, Figareido, Mx. Mkhontfo (Mt. Mkhontfo 62’), Gamedze, Tsabedze
Egypt: El-Shennawi, Elmohamady, El-Mohamadi, Hegazi, Ashraf, Hamed, Elneny, Warda, El-Shahat (Kouka 46’ [Morsy 85’]), Trezeguet, Mohsen (Mahmoud 71’)