Egypt coach Javier Aguirre reacts during Saturday's African Nations Cup qualifier against Niger (Reuters)
Egypt coach Javier Aguirre said Canada-based defender Aly Ghazal, who made his first international appearance in four years, was the team's best performer in an impressive 6-0 home win over Niger on Saturday.
The Pharaohs atoned for an opening loss to Tunisia to hammer unfancied Niger at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium in their second Group J game of the African Cup of Nations qualifiers.
Ghazal, who plays for Vancouver Whitecaps, marshalled a three-man defence and was tasked with making inroads upfield as Egypt pressed hard from the outset.
He played his first international game since featuring in a 1-0 loss to Tunisia in an African Nations qualifier in September 2014.
"Ghazal is the best player tonight," Mexican coach Aguirre, who enjoyed a winning start after replacing Argentinean Hector Cuper, told the post-match news conference.
A brace from Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and goals from Marwan Mohsen, Ayman Ashraf, Mohamed Elneny and substitute Salah Mohsen handed Egypt their first competitive win since they beat Congo 2-1 in a dramatic game in October last year, which lifted them to their first World Cup finals in 28 years.
Despite the huge scoreline, Aguirre said his side must not get carried away.
"This is a good start and this is the least I asked my players to do … but we must be cautious in the future because it's not always possible to win in the same manner against different opposition," he said.
Egypt moved joint top with Tunisia on top of Group J with three points each but the Carthage Eagles could move three clear if they beat Swaziland (one point) on Sunday. The top two will qualify for next year's Nations Cup in Cameroon.
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