In a heart-wrenching turn of events, Egypt’s national football team bowed out of the 2024 African Cup of Nations in a nail-biting penalty shootout against the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), concluding their campaign in Cote d’Ivoire.
The Pharaohs displayed an early vigour in the first half, with defender Ahmed Hegazy narrowly missing a pivotal chance, heading the ball just over the bar from a corner.
As the game proceeded, Egypt showcased their persisting defensive weakness – a worryingly increasing pattern in recent matches – by conceding a goal from a quick throw-in in the 37th minute.
Towards the end of the first half, another Hegazy corner attempt resulted in a penalty for Egypt after an elbow to the face. Mostafa Mohamed stepped up confidently, levelling the score by firing the ball into the net.
Despite showing improvement in the second half, Egypt faltered with two clear-cut chances. In the 60th minute, winger Ahmed ‘Zizo’ Sayed’s attempt was saved after receiving a cutting pass from Hamdi Fathy. In the 83rd minute, Zizo’s cross to substitute Mahmoud Hamada went awry as he failed to control the ball.
As extra time loomed, an early red card for Egypt’s Mohamed Hamdy shifted the team’s focus to defence. Despite defensive lapses throughout the tournament, the backline put up a resilient performance during the additional thirty minutes.
Their extra-time defensive masterclass led to a penalty shootout, which ended in disappointment as the Pharaohs lost 7-8 to the Leopards.
Egypt’s elimination marks 14 years since they last won the competition.