Sunday Jun 14, 2015. 21:03
Egypt enjoyed a 3-0 victory over Tanzania in Alexandria on Sunday evening, in their opener of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Mohamed Salah got two assists and one goal to fire the seven-time African champions to top spot in Group G, ahead of Nigeria on goal difference.
The Pharaohs kicked off their continental campaign in the absence of Hull City’s injured winger Ahmed Elmohamady, and with Ahly’s star duo of Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ and Ramadan Sobhi on the bench.
The locals came close to taking the lead after only four minutes at Borg El-Arab Stadium, but Italy-based centre-back Ahmed Hegazy’s opener was disallowed for an offside position.
Egypt kept on piling pressure on the visitors, with winger Mahmoud ‘Kahraba’ losing his one on one with the Tanzanian keeper in the 24th minute and Sporting Portugal centre-back Rami Rabia having another goal ruled out two minutes later for a foul on the keeper.
And the Tanzanian shot-stopper denied Mohamed Salah on the stroke of half-time to send both teams goalless into the break.
The Pharaohs were back in the driving seat in terms of possession as the second half resumed, ultimately breaking the deadlock at the hour mark through Rami Rabia, who headed home a corner kick from Mohamed Salah.
And 57th minute substitute Bassem Morsy doubled Egypt’s advantage five minutes later with another successful header, thanks to Salah’s second assist of the evening.
The Fiorentina star got himself on the scoresheet with a perfect lob in the 70th minute, to give the locals a comfortable cushion.
Hector Cuper’s men held onto their three-goal advantage until the final whistle, to get off to the perfect start in their bid to qualify for their first AFCON finals since the 2010 edition in Angola.
The Pharaohs will travel to Chad in September in their next continental outing, while Tanzania will welcome the Super Eagles.