Mohamed Salah of Egypt celebrates goal with teammates during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations Finals Uganda and Egypt at Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt on 30 June 2019 ©Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix
Sunday Jun 30, 2019. 23:00
Uganda have advanced into the next round of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations despite a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Group A rivals and tournament hosts Egypt at the Cairo International Stadium on Sunday night.
The result sees the Pharaohs top the pool with a full haul of nine points and they advance into the last 16 to face a third-placed team from one of Groups C, D or E in Cairo next Saturday, July 6.
The Cranes finish in second place despite the defeat (thanks very much to a convincing win for DR Congo over Zimbabwe in the group’s other game) and will face the runners-up of Group C (likely to be either Senegal or Kenya) at the same venue on Friday, July 5.
The first shot in anger came from Uganda, with Farouk Miya cutting inside from the left and shooting toward the near post, where goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy had to make a decent save in the fifth minute of the match.
On 14 minutes Emmanuel Okwi threatened in a similar manner, but again his well-struck shot was plucked out of the air with relative comfort by the Egyptian gloves-man.
The Cranes continued to look the more dangerous side in attack, while the Pharaohs’ forward ambitions were hurt by an injury to Ahmed Hassan which forced the early introduction of Marwan Mohsen off the bench.
El Shenawy made another notable save just before the half-hour mark, acrobatically tipping a swerving shot from Allan Kyambadde over the crossbar, while a few minutes later he made two fine blocks in quick succession to deny Abdu Lumala.
Uganda were well on top, but against the run of play Egypt claimed the lead in the 36th minute through a superb goal from Mohamed Salah. The forward sent a beautiful strike direct from a free kick past the left hand of goalkeeper Denis Onyango.
And the Pharaohs doubled their advantage just before the interval, with a sweeping move ending with Ayman Ashraf’s low cross from the left finding Ahmed Elmohamady, who fired home a low shot on the angle to send the hosts 2-0 up.
It should have been 3-0 for the Egyptians within the opening seven minutes of the second stanza, as Salah went through one-on-one with Onyango, but the Liverpool star was unable to beat the on-rushing goalkeeper.
The Mamelodi Sundowns shot-stopper was later replaced by Robert Odongkara, as he appeared to be taken ill on the pitch. Yet it was at the other end, where Uganda were unable to take their chances, which really cost them this match.
The likes of Okwi, Miya and Kyambadde continued to either shoot off target or find El Shenawy in inspired form, with the Pharaohs able to close out a 2-0 win.
Egypt (2) 2 (Salah 36’, Elmohamady 45+1’)
Uganda: Onyango (Odongkara 72’), Wadada, Awany, Wasswa, Walusimbi, Azira, Lumala, Miya, Aucho (Lwanga 70’), Kyambadde (Kizito 79’), Okwi
Egypt: El Shenawy, B. El Mohamady, Hegay, Ashraf, A. Elmohamady (Gaber 90+2’), Trezeguet, Elneny (Hamed 62’), Said, Emad, Salah, A. Hassan (Mohsen 25’)