Wednesday Sep 01, 2021. 23:26
Egypt got their 2022 World Cup Qualifying Group F campaign off to a successful but laboured start, as they defeated Angola 1-0 at the 30 June Stadium in Cairo on Wednesday evening.
In a match brought forward 24 hours from its original kick-off slot, the Pharaohs – shorn of star man Mohamed Salah – struggled to assert themselves against a rugged Palancas Negras outfit, but ultimately registered three points thanks to an early spot kick.
Egypt flew out of the starting blocks and built pressure from the opening minutes, soon earning a penalty after left-back Ahmed Fatouh was tripped up in the 18-yard area. Attacking midfielder Magdi Afsha stepped up and fired the ball beyond Angolan goalkeeper Hugo Marques to make it 1-0 in the fifth minute.
Angola should have drawn level just three minutes later when an attack led by Vladimiro Antonio teed up a great chance for Fabio Abreu, but the striker failed to hit the target with only goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy to beat.
The Palancas Negras went on to create a sustained spell of pressure and forced the Pharaohs onto the back foot, with Abreu, Fredy and Nurio Fortuna providing impressive attacking thrust for the visitors.
Yet it was Egypt who created the next big scoring chance, with Afsha feeding forward Mohamed Sherif, who cut inside from the left channel and sent a curling effort just over the crossbar on 45 minutes to leave the score at 1-0 in favour of the North Africans heading into the interval.
Egypt were much improved after the break, controlling possession to quell the threat offered by Angola, though their own attack lacked rhythm and penetration, with the likes of Hussein El Shahat and Ahmed Zizo forced to resort to long-range shots.
The Pharaohs made a double substitution midway through the second half in an attempt to bring some craft to their forward play, with Ramadan Sobhi and Abdallah El Said rising off the bench.
The latter provided some creative spark from midfield and his corner kick delivery on 76 minutes almost resulted in a second goal for the hosts, but Mahmoud El Wensh’s header was well saved by Marques.
That proved to be the last major chance at either end, with Egypt doing well to hold off Angola’s hopes of a late equaliser and claim a hard-fought 1-0 victory.
Egypt will next be in WCQ action on Sunday 5 September when they face Gabon in Franceville, while Angola’s next Group F match is at home to Libya in Luanda on Tuesday 7 September.
Egypt (1) 1 (Afsha 5’ pen)
Egypt: El Shenawy, El Mohamady, Hegazy, El Wensh, Fatouh (Ashraf 78’), Hamed, El Sulaya, Zizo (El Said 68’), Afsha (Fathi 90+2’), El Shahat (Sobhi 68’), Sherif
Angola: Marques, Fortuna (Herenilson 78’), Buatu, Bastos, Inacio Miguel (Miranda 89’), Mario, Estrela, Fredy, Batxi (Papel 61’), Antonio (Luvumbo 78’), Abreu