Egypt defender Hegazy recalls his hardest moment at Nations Cup

Ahram Online , Tuesday 7 Feb 2017,
Cameroon first goal
Egypt's Essam El-Hadary, Ahmed Fathi and Ahmed Hegazy look dejected after Cameroon's Nicolas Nkoulou scores their first goal (Reuters)

Egypt central defender Ahmed Hegazy has said his toughest moment of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations final came when Cameroon scored their first goal.

"The first Cameroon goal was my hardest moment at the whole tournament. I felt that my efforts had been in vain." the 26-year-old told an Egyptian TV program Monday.

In Sunday's showdown, the Pharaohs took a first-half lead in the final, thanks to Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny. The Lions' substitute Nicolas Nkoulou leveled the score in the 58th minute, however, before Aboubakar sealed the win at the 87th.

"It's normal to receive two goals after all the fatigue we suffered during the tournament," Hegazy added.

Despite losing the final, Egypt won the appreciation of fans and critics and were welcomed home at the airport by the country's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

"The hardest game was, of course, Burkina Faso [in the semifinal]. We are a very organised backline and the first goal we received at the tournament was against Burkina Faso," the Ahly player said.

The record holders of seven trophies, Egypt took the lead of the group stage with a goalless draw against Mali and two 1-0 victories over Uganda and Ghana.

The Pharaohs defeated Morocco 1-0 in the quarterfinals in a tough game before passing Burkina Faso with penalty shootouts.

"We wanted to go as far as we could. We said we would fight for the title. We were very enthusiastic to please Egyptians despite all the stress," Hegazy concluded.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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