Preview: Egypt eye away win over Togo to edge closer to Nations Cup place

Ahram Online , Monday 16 Nov 2020

Egypt meet Togo in Lome on Tuesday in the second of a double header, having beaten them 1-0 in Cairo last weekend

Egypt v Togo
Soccer Football - Africa Cup of Nations Qualification - Egypt v Togo - Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt - November 14, 2020 Egypt's Mahmoud Hamdi celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates (Reuters)

An away win for Egypt over Togo in the second of a double header on Tuesday would put the record seven-time African Champions in pole position to qualify for the African Cup of Nations.

The Pharaohs ended their winless start to their Group G campaign by beating Togo 1-0 on Saturday, thanks to a second-half header from defender Mahmoud Hamdi on only his third international appearance.

They are second in the group with five points, three behind surprise package Comoros and two clear of third-placed Kenya. Togo have a solitary point from three matches.

Should Egypt defeat Togo again in Lome, they will go level on points with Comoros and open up a five-point lead over Kenya with only two matches remaining. The top two in the group will reach the Cameroon finals.

Despite Egypt's victory over Togo, question marks were raised following a sluggish display that had fans wondering whether the team could mount a serious title challenge if they reached the Nations Cup.

The hosts appeared greatly affected by the absence of talisman Mohamed Salah, who tested positive for COVID-19 just one day before the game. The Liverpool star will not be available again in the away fixture as he self-isolates.

"People should bear in mind that we are going through difficult circumstances," Egypt coach Hossam El-Badry said following the win over Togo.

"We haven't been able to assemble for almost a year so it's very difficult to find the needed harmony right away."

Egypt will also have to do without right-back Mohamed Hani, who picked up a knee injury in the weekend game. Pyramids' versatile midfielder Ahmed Tawfik is expected to deputise for him.

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