Mohamed Salah of Egypt (second from left) celebrates goal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals football match between Egypt and DR Congo at the Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 26 June 2019 ©Gavin Barker/BackpagePix
Thursday Jun 27, 2019. 00:15
Egypt were just too strong for a gutsy Democratic Republic of Congo outfit at Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday evening, as they booked their spot in the knockout rounds of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations with a 2-0 win in front of their home fans.
Victory moves the Pharaohs up to six points in Group A and duly books their spot in the Round of 16 alongside Nigeria.
DR Congo hit the crossbar on two occasions in the opening half, with both moments occurring before an Egyptian goal.
First, Marcel Tisserand watched on in agony as his thumping effort from close range cannoned off the woodwork and out of danger from a corner-kick. Ahmed El Mohamady duly opened the scoring from a similar situation at the other end of the pitch in the 25th minute.
The Egypt captain quickest to react after the Leopards failed to clear a routine set-piece; poking the ball home to send the home fans into delirium.
Jonathan Bolingi then sent a looping header over Mohamed El Shenawy and onto the top of the crossbar before watching the Pharaohs race up the other end of the pitch moments later to double their lead on the cusp of half-time.
Mahmoud Trézéguet picked the ball up inside his own half, weaved his way past a few static Leopards in midfield before feeding Salah who cut onto his left footed, faked, swivelled and clattered the ball into the back of the net.
DR Congo continued to persist after the break, but their best chance would come from a 83rd minute Yannick Bolasie free-kick. The wing-wizard unlucky to see his rasping effort whistle inches wide of goal.
Egypt next face Uganda while the Leopards square up to Zimbabwe on Sunday evening.
Egypt (2) (El Mohamady 25' Salah 43')
DR Congo (0) 0
Egypt: Elshenawy; El Mohamady, Hegazy, Hamed, Mohsen (Hassan 59'), Ashraf, Elneny, El Said (Soliman 68'), Alaa, Trezeguet (Ghazal 84'), Salah.
DR Congo: Matampi; Djos, Muzinga, Tisserand, Moke, Luyindama, Bope (Bolasie 64'), Maghoma, Mputu (Meschak 46'), Bolingi, Bakambu.