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Tuesday, 25 February 2020

Tactical view (Egypt v Tunisia): A classic or false 9 for the Pharaohs

Karim Farouk , Sunday 11 Jun 2017
Kahraba
Egypt's Mahmoud Kahraba, center, runs with the ball during the African Cup of Nations semifinal soccer match between Burkina Faso and Egypt at the Stade de l'Amitie, in Libreville, Gabon, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017 (AP)
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While most of Egypt's starting eleven can be easily predicted, coach Hector Cuper has one last dilemma to solve before the Pharaohs take on Tunisia on Sunday in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Who will spearhead Egypt's attack in his customary 4-2-3-1 formation?

Cuper likes to have a target man in the number 9 position; a burly striker who is dominant in the air and can overpower defenders to create chances and spaces for his teammates to finish the job.

During the 2017 Nations Cup, Marwan Mohsen and Ahmed "Kouka" Hassan played the role of the classic striker but both were injured in the final stages, prompting Cuper to display his tactical innovations.

The Argentinean tactician deployed natural-attacking midfielders Mahmoud "Kahraba"Abdel-Moneim and later Amr Warda upfront as a false 9 and Egypt managed to beat Burkina Faso in the semi-final before losing to Cameroon in the final.

With Mohsen and Kouka still out with injuries, Cuper named Ahly's out-of-favour Amr Gamal as the only out-and-out striker in his 24-man squad for the Tunisia game.

The choice was questioned by many pundits, given that Gamal has been warming the bench lately with Ahly, with departing Ivorian striker Souleymane Coulibaly and Nigerian Junior Ajayi ahead of him in the pecking order. 

"We lack potential in strikers in Egypt these days so there are a few choices. Cuper has faith in Amr Gamal and he has previously worked with us so we know what he is capable of doing," assistant coach Osama Nabih told a radio program.

Kahraba and Warda have been also included in the squad for the game and the former just finished an impressive season, scoring 16 goals in 20 league games for Jeddah-based side Ittihad.

Will Cuper go for Amr Gamal as a classic number 9 or keep the creative Kahraba in his starting XI to create a better combination with Mohamed Salah, Abdallah El-Said and Ramadan Sobhi?

Egypt's probable lineup:
Ahmed El-Shennawi – Ahmed Fathi, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Hegazy, Mohamed Abdel-Shafi – Mohamed Elneny, Tarek Hamed – Mohamed Salah, Abdallah El-Said, Ramadan Sobhi – Mahmoud Kahraba.

 

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