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Sunday, 27 September 2020

Preview: Egypt out to avoid another setback in Comoros clash

Egypt are looking to atone for an opening draw with Kenya as they face Comoros in the second Group G game of the African Nations Cup qualifiers on Monday

Ahram Online , Sunday 17 Nov 2019
Egypt
Soccer Football - African Nations Cup 2021 Qualifier - Egypt v Kenya - Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt - November 14, 2019 Egypt's Amr Soleya in action with Kenya's Eric Johana Omondi REUTERS
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Egypt would find themselves in an unlikely embarrassing situation should they fail to overcome minnows Comoros in Monday's African Cup of Nations qualifier, having been held to a shock opening draw with Kenya.

On paper, the record seven-time African champions were expected to easily top the group from the day the draw was made after they were paired with Kenya, Comoros and Togo.

However, a lethargic opening display in a 1-1 draw against Kenya last week in Alexandria raised alarm bells, casting doubts over Egypt's ability to claim what were expected to be straightforward victories.

The Pharaohs struggled to break down Kenya, lacking spark and imagination without talisman Mohamed Salah, who will also be absent against Comoros as he nurses an ankle injury he picked up in Liverpool's 3-1 Premier League win over Manchester City.

Another source of creativity, winger Ramadan Sobhi, also remains absent as he takes part in the U23 Nations Cup with Egypt's Olympic side, with the senior team also lacking an out-and-out striker due to the injury of Portugal-based Ahmed Kouka and Masry's Ahmed Gomaa.

"We dropped two points but there is still a long way to go," coach Hossam El-Badry said after the draw with Kenya.

"The players were not physically fit due to the lengthy break of the Egyptian Premier League but I'm sure we will improve in the coming period."

Egypt's qualification for the 2021 Cameroon finals would no longer be deemed a formality if they stumble against Comoros away from home in an afternoon kick-off on Monday.

Their task to bag all three points will not be easy as Comoros kicked off their qualifying campaign with a bang, defeating Togo 1-0 to go on top of Group G.

They haven't been also defeated at home since losing 1-0 to Burkina Faso in June 2016. Last year, they held giants Cameroon and Morocco to home draws.

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

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