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VIDEO: Egypt’s Olympic team surrender lead to lose to Spain

Egypt’s U-23 side throw away a first-half lead to slump to a 3-1 defeat by 2011 European champions Spain in a friendly game on Tuesday

Hatem Maher, Wednesday 29 Feb 2012
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Egypt’s Olympic side failed to hold onto a first-half advantage to miss out on a famous win over Spain, who outclassed their opponents after the break to claim a 3-1 win in Tuesday's friendly game in Madrid.

The Pharaohs went to the locker room with a deserved lead, thanks to a near-post header from striker Marwan Mohsen. However, a brace from Spain’s Alvaro Vazquez either side of a Koke penalty condemned them to defeat.

Egypt have never defeated Spain on the junior and senior levels. In Seven meetings, Spain won five and drew twice.

Hany Ramzy’s side are preparing for the 2012 London Games, their first appearance in the quadrennial showpiece since taking part in the 1992 edition in Barcelona, where they suffered a 2-0 loss to Spain.

Absent players

Egypt missed several regular players, including in-form forward Mohamed Salah, goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawy and Arab Contractors midfielder Mohamed El-Nenni – who were all called up by the senior national team for their training camp in Qatar.

Spain had the better of the early exchanges, moving the ball around smoothly. However, they struggled to create goal-scoring opportunities.

Sporting Lisbon winger Diego Capel, an ex-Sevilla man, caused constant menace down the left flank but Egypt’s steadfast defenders kept opposing forwards at bay.

Egypt were on the back foot until the 32nd minute when they had their first sight of goal. A throw-in found the unmarked Ahmed Shokry on the left hand side of the penalty area but he blasted his shot wide from a tight angle.

Mohsen made amends in the 38th minute when he beat his marker to a left-wing cross from midfielder Shehab Ahmed to rise at the near post and send a glancing header past Spain keeper Diego Marino.

Egypt continued to press forward and could have doubled their advantage on 41 minutes when a long-range shot by midfielder Saleh Gomaa was tipped over by Marino.

Slack defending

A goal-line clearance from Egypt’s central defender Ahmed Hegazy prevented Spain from leveling the score shortly before the break but he was powerless to stop forward Vazquez equalizing in the 53rd minute.

The Espanyol man escaped Hegazy to send a free header past keeper Aly Lotfy after some good individual work from Ander Herrera down the left.

Egypt’s slack defending, which was in stark contrast to a resolute display in the first half, allowed Spain to lay siege to their area and carve out clear-cut chances.

Vazquez was sent clean through in the 63rd minute but he was unlucky to see his low shot strike the post.

Spain’s pressure paid off ten minutes later when Koke converted a penalty after Hegazy fouled an opponent.

Vazquez wrapped up the win in stoppage time when he ran onto a superb through pass from Barcelona’s Isaac Cuenca, rounded the keeper before slotting home with aplomb.

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