Two second-half goals from Ahmed Sherweida and Shehab Ahmed gave Egypt a 2-0 home victory over Sudan and a place in the group stage of the 2012 London Games qualifiers.
The Pharaohs failed to unsettle Sudan’s defence in a scrappy first half but found their rhythm after the interval to emerge winners with a 2-0 aggregate victory, as the first leg ended goalless in Sudan.
They will now play in a four-team group as they seek to end their Olympic jinx, having made their last appearance in the 1992 Barcelona Games.
Egypt dominated possession in the first half but appeared largely toothless as they struggled to create clear-cut chances, with lone striker Sherweida unable to trouble Sudan’s steadfast defence.
Their best chance fell to Hesham Mohamed after 11 minutes when Sudan’s backline failed to clear a cross but the sliding midfielder’s close-range shot missed the target.
Sherweida also had a backward header tipped over by Sudan’s keeper in the 33rd minute.
Sudan could have scored against the run of play three minutes later but Egypt keeper Mohamed Abou-Gabal superbly blocked a curling free-kick.
Egypt coach Hany Ramzy introduced midfield duo Shehab Ahmed and Ahmed Hamoudi to inject zeal and break down Sudan’s resolute defence. The substitutions paid dividends as the hosts notably improved after the break.
They broke the deadlock in the 58th minute when a powerful shot by Saleh Gomaa was palmed by the keeper into the path of Sherweida, who notched home on the rebound.
Shehab ensured the victory 11 minutes later when he was found unmarked by a right-wing cross from Hamoudi to head home from close range.
Egypt could have added to their tally on several occasions, including a Sherweida header that struck the post, to continue their bid for a place in next year’s Olympic Games in London.