Egypt will breath a sigh of relief after surviving a late scare to draw 0-0 at Sudan in the first leg of the Olympic Games’ qualifiers second round on Saturday.
The Pharaohs failed to create a single goal-scoring opportunity and were lucky to avoid a defeat in the latter stages after Sudan squandered some clear-cut chances.
Despite the visitors’ poor display, they will be favourites to qualify for the next round when they host Sudan in Cairo in two weeks’ time.
Egypt had to play with ten men in the last 11 minutes after substitute Marouane Mohsen was handed a straight red card for allegedly elbowing an opponent. Television replays were inconclusive as to whether there was a real contact.
Roared on by the enthusiastic home supporters, Sudan came close to breaking the deadlock midway through the second half but a deflected shot went just over the bar from close range.
Sudan’s Al-Naiem Othman also sent a superb overhead kick that caught out Egypt’s advancing keeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal but narrowly missed the target.
Five minutes from time, another blunder from Abou-Gabal could have cost Egypt dearly but Ramadan Agab shot wide with the goal gaping.