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Egypt Secures AFCON Round of 16 Place After Last Minute Draw

January 23, 2024
Photo credit: Al-Ahram.

Egypt ended its match against Cape Verde with a 2-2 draw on Monday, 22 January, at the Stade Félix Houphouët-Boigny in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. 

Egypt, already with two draws in AFCON’s group stage, had to win against the Blue Sharks to secure advancement to second place in Group B. However, the 2-2 draw in the Ghana vs Mozambique match ultimately allowed the Pharaohs to maintain their position in second place.

During the first half, the Pharaohs had several failed attempts at a goal, with shots from Ahmed “Zizo” Sayed, Ahmed Fatouh, and Emam Ashour. Benchimol scored Cape Verde’s first goal with a well-placed left-footed shot near the penalty spot.

In the opening moments of the second half, Mahmoud “Trezeguet” Hassan initiated a one-two play with Ahmed Hegazy, resulting in Trezeguet taking a shot from inside the box to secure Egypt’s first goal. The Pharaohs’ persistent pressure managed to secure a second goal in the 90+3 minute, courtesy of Mostafa Mohammed. However, Cape Verde secured an equalizer in the dying moments of the match when Bryan Teixeira found the back of the net.

Cape Verde currently leads their group with six points from two matches, securing their spot in the Round of 16 knockout stage. Egypt is in second place with three points. Ghana’s 2-2 draw against Mozambique resulted in both teams being tied for third place with two points each.

Egypt’s performance in the tournament has garnered online criticism. The Pharaouhs began with a 2-2 draw against Mozambique in their group opener, followed by another 2-2 draw against Ghana. The Egyptian National Team benefited from fouls made by the Black Stars to earn their lone point. Before their match with Cape Verde, Egypt occupied the second spot in their group with two points. 

Meanwhile, the Blue Sharks have made an impressive start to their Nations Cup campaign, securing a 2-1 victory over Ghana in their first group game. They continued their success with a 3-0 win against Mozambique in their second match, featuring spectacular goals from Tiago “Bebe” Correia and Krasnodar’s Kevin Pina and a strike from Ryan Mendes.

Liverpool’s Mohammed Salah sustained a hamstring injury during Egypt’s 2-2 draw with Ghana in the ongoing 2023 AFCON. The Egyptian Football Association (EFA) has declared that Salah will miss the final group match against Cape Verde and any subsequent Round of 16 fixtures. 

Controversy surrounded tonight’s match, as Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp announced Salah’s return to Liverpool for rehabilitation. This decision has sparked dissatisfaction among fans and pundits, who argue that Salah should remain in Ivory Coast to support his national teammates. The prioritization of club rehab over national team solidarity has triggered debate and raised concerns within the football community.

Salah’s potential return is contingent on Egypt qualifying for a quarter-final match on February 2 or 3. Senegal, the reigning champions, has already secured a spot in the next round with a 3-1 victory over Cameroon.

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