A wasteful Egypt side continued their recent poor results after slumping to a 2-1 defeat by Chile in a friendly game at Spain’s Vicente Calderon Stadium on Wednesday.
Alarm bells are still ringing for the Pharaohs, who once again produced an eye-catching yet inefficient performance that saw them squander four goal-scoring opportunities in the first half.
Two second-half goals from Eduardo Vargas and Carlos Carmona gave Chile a deserved victory and condemned Egypt to their third friendly defeat in less than a month. Forward Mohamed Salah notched a late consolation for Egypt.
Egypt, who are preparing for a World Cup qualifier at home to Zimbabwe next month, suffered an embarrassing 3-0 defeat by Ghana and lost 4-2 to the Ivory Coast in January, few days before the start of the Africa Cup of Nations, a competition they have won a record seven times but which they failed to reach in 2012 and 2013.
Egypt played at full-strength but coach Bob Bradley opted to leave keeper Essam El-Hadary on the bench, reportedly igniting a row with the veteran shot-stopper.
Al-Qahera Wal Nas, the television satellite channel which aired the game, said that El-Hadary had threatened to retire from international football after Ahly’s keeper Sherif Ekramy was given the nod against Chile.
Egypt were the livelier side in an exciting first half but were let down by poor finishing as Bradley still struggles to find a reliable striker in the absence of Amr Zaki, who is without a club after leaving Turkey’s Elazigspor in the January transfer window.
A pinpoint long ball from talismanic playmaker Mohamed Abou-Treika, who has just completed a loan move to Emirati club Bani Yas, released Mohamed Salah but the Basel forward failed to control the ball to allow Chile’s keeper Claudio Bravo to clear the danger.
Bravo also tipped over a fierce shot from Hosni Abd-Rabou shortly after and produced a moment of brilliance to thwart forward Ahmed Temsah from close range after 19 minutes.
Temsah was guilty of a glaring miss when he was found unmarked by a low cross but his shot was denied by Bravo with the goal at his mercy.
Lone striker Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’, who joined English second-division side Hull City on loan until the end of the season, was also denied by the impressive Bravo two minutes later after he robbed a defender inside the area.
Chile’s only chance before the break fell to Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez, who side-footed a cross wide of the post from six yards out.
Egypt were made to pay for their wastefulness in a second half dominated by Chile, who were inspired by an all-round display from Sanchez.
Substitute Omar Gaber was dispossessed on the hour mark and Sanchez seized the loose ball to feed Vargas, who burst clear on the right hand side of the area and fired a low shot into the bottom corner.
Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal almost doubled the lead in the 64th minute after superbly sidestepping Egypt and Brighton defender Adam El-Abd but his subsequent shot was blocked by keeper Sherif Ekramy.
However, Carmona made amends two minutes later with a simple tap-in after Ekramy parried an acute-angle shot from Sanchez into his path.
Egypt’s defensive lapses were exposed in the latter stages but the introduction of the likes of Mohamed Ibrahim, Zamalek’s in-form forward, and Ahly’s Abdallah El-Saied pepped up a sluggish frontline.
Salah notched the consolation three minutes from time when he slotted in from close range after Gaber squared the ball for him as Egypt made the most of a defensive mistake from Chile.
It was too little, too late though.
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