Egypt have moved a step closer to their first World Cup since 1990 after defeating Ghana 2-0 at home on Sunday in the qualifiers.
Roma winger Mohamed Salah scored the first goal from a penalty in the 43th minute, before Ahly midfielder Abdullah El-Said confirmed the victory, 84, with a counter-attack.
More than 80,000 fans enjoyed a joyful night at Borg El-Arab stadium in Alexandria, erasing memories of the 6-1 first-leg humiliation in Kumasi in a World Cup qualifying playoff in 2013.
Egypt now lead the group with six points, two clear of Uganda who defeated pointless Congo 1-0 on Saturday, while Ghana are third on a solitary point.
Egypt, who have not lost in any home World Cup qualifiers since 2004, face Uganda in two home and away matches next year.
Ahram Online collected reactions from players, coaches after the game.
Argentine coach Hector Cuper extols tactics
Egypt's head coach Hector Cuper reacts during the game. (Reuters)
''We played a good game and I'm very happy that we were able to win," Cuper told a post-match news conference.
"We played against a strong team that includes many stars. Patience and balance were the key to our victory. We knew that the Ghanaian team will play an offensive game.
"We had to play with a balanced strategy in this crucial clash and I think we achieved our target."
"There are four matches remaining in the group and everything could happen. We have to focus on the coming games to continue our winning run," the Argentine said
Ghana coach Avram Grant praises players and fans, refuses to give up
File Photo: Avram Grant
"Fan presence wasn't a source of worry for us and the atmosphere was great. We had the possession but finally football is a game of results.
''As you saw the players today, they were fighting and fighting until the end.''
''I can tell you one thing, first we had an African Cup before so we will do everything in the African Cup. We showed today that we are a good team but we will fight until the end,’’ Grant said in a post-match interview.
''Anything is possible in football. Now Egypt is leading Uganda with four points and we have one point. Twelve points to go, everything could happen in football and we will not give up until the last moment.''
Egypt's Mohamed Salah explains taking penalty against Ghana
Egypt's Mohamed Salah (R) vies for the ball against Ghana's Daniel Amartey during the 2018 World Cup qualifying Group E football match between Egypt and Ghana at the Borg el-Arab Stadium near Alexandria on November 13, 2016. (AFP)
"We had talked before the game and he agreed to let me take any penalty against Ghana," Salah told ONTV Sport channel after the match.
"When we won the penalty, he told me to go on and take it."
Abdullah El-Said says road still long
Egypt's Abdallah El Said celebrates after he scores a goal against Ghana. (Reuters)
"Coach Hector Cuper assigned who kicks penalties earlier; Salah then El-Said then Elneny [of Arsenal] and it doesn't matter who kicked, what matters is the result," the Egypt playmaker told Filgoal after the game.
"The Ghana team is very dangerous offensively and we had to tighten all spaces to avoid troubles. The road is still long and we will be very focused against Uganda because everything is possible," he added.
Arsenal winger Mohamed Elneny happy with win
Egypt's Mohamed El Neney and Ghana’s Andre Ayew in action. (Reuters)
''It's not vital to put in a good performance, winning is more important,'' Elneny said after the game.
''Ghana are a strong team and have great players. We let their players control the possession but they still failed to pose any threat on our goal throughout the 90 minutes," he added.
''I trust in the abilities of the current generation to achieve Egypt’s dream of reaching the World Cup.''
Newcastle winger Christian Atsu is calm despite loss
File Photo: Ghana winger Christian Atsu (Photo: Reuters)
"Regarding our qualification chances, there are still two matches after the qualifiers and points to grab," the Newcastle star said.
"We played well today but unfortunately we couldn't win," Atsu added.
Egypt's first-choice goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary congratulates fans
Egypt's goalkeeper Essam El Hadrey celebrates after his team scored a goal against Ghana. (Reuters)
''There are no stars in our team. The team is the star,'' El-Hadary said after the game.
''I want to send my congratulations to the Egyptian fans. We’ve only one aim, which is qualifying to the World Cup,' the veteran goalkeeper concluded.
Uganda game will be the toughest, says Ahmed Fathi
Egypt's Ahmed Fathie and Ghana’s Christian Atsu in action. (Reuters)
"It's okay to defend--look at Portugal," Ahly's experienced winger Ahmed Fathi told a radio station after the game.
"Uganda game will be the toughest and Cuper is a very reliable coach," he added.
Omar Gaber wants crowd more enthusiastic
File Photo: Chile's Mauricio Pinilla, left, battles for the ball with Egypt's Omar Gaber at a friendly soccer match in Santiago, Chile, Friday, May 30, 2014 (Photo: AP)
"I hope supporters will be more enthusiastic in the upcoming games. Essam El-Hadary [the goalkeeper] was stirring their cheers most of the game," said the right-winger who stars in Basel of Switzerland.
Speaking about not playing because his experienced teammate Ahmed Fathi filled his position, Gaber said: "It's new for me to warm the bench but I can't complain because this is football."
Win is big step towards World Cup, says legend Mohamed Abou-Treika
File Photo:Mohamed Aboutrika of Egypt's Al-Ahly (Photo: Reuters)
"Congratulations to the Egyptian national team on winning against a stubborn opponent," footballing legend Mohamed Abou-Treika said on his Twitter account after the game.
"A big step toward the World Cup. I pray it ends well," he added.
'Are we Germany?' Mido mocks criticism of performance
File Photo: Ismaily's coach Ahmed Hossam Mido (Photo: Bassam Al-Zoghby)
Former Egypt striker Ahmed "Mido" Hossam had a sarcastic response for fans and critics who had expressed dissatisfaction with the team's performance.
"Are we not happy about the team's performance despite qualifying for the [Africa] Cup of Nations following three years of absence while we are closing on reaching the World Cup after long years? Are we Germany, people?" the former Ajax Amsterdam player tweeted.
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