Egypt snatch last-gasp win over Uganda to record first win in Nations Cup

Hatem Maher , Saturday 21 Jan 2017,
Abdala El-Said
Egypt's forward Abdallah Said celebrates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations group D football match between Egypt and Uganda in Port-Gentil on January 21, 2017 (Photo: AFP)

Substitute Abdallah El-Said scored just before the end to hand Egypt their first three points at the African Cup of Nations in Gabon after they scraped a 1-0 victory over Uganda despite looking largely toothless on Saturday.

The Ahly playmaker, who came on in the second half, finished off a flowing breakaway with one minute remaining as Egypt made the most of a rare goal-scoring chance to move second in Group D and condemn Uganda to an early exit.

Uganda, making their first Nations Cup appearance since 1978, were successful in containing Egypt's forwards for large periods as the Pharaohs produced another lackluster performance upfront, failing to notably improve on an opening display that saw them settle for a 0-0 stalemate with Mali last Tuesday.

The match looked as though it was heading for another draw when Ittihad Jeddah's on-loan winger Mahmoud Kahraba initiated a fast counter attack, with Mohamed Salah eventually finding El-Said for a precious winner from inside the area.

The goal was Egypt's first in the biennial tournament since forward Mohamed Gedo netted late in the final win over Ghana in 2010, giving them a record-extending seventh title before they missed out on the following three editions.

A muddy, unplayable pitch made things difficult for both sides and disrupted build-up attempts as they found it difficult to move the ball around, losing possession too often.  

Egypt are second in the group with four points from two games, two behind leaders Ghana who secured their place in the last eight with a narrow 1-0 victory over Mali earlier in the day.

Mali take on Uganda while Egypt face Ghana in the last round on Wednesday to determine who would join the Black Stars in the quarters. A draw will be enough for Egypt to book a last-eight berth. 

More zeal

Stoke City winger Ramadan Sobhi was given the nod, taking Abdallah El-Said's place in the starting line-up with Egypt coach Hector Cuper seeking to inject more zeal after he came under fire for a toothless display against Mali.

Sobhi started brightly, taking on Uganda's defenders on the left in repeated one-on-ones as Egypt showed a more adventurous approach.

However, genuine goal-scoring opportunities were still at a premium as Egypt could only create some half-chances, with AS Roma winger Salah running onto any long balls behind Uganda's backline.

One of those runs on the right saw Salah outpace his marker on 24 minutes but his angled cross past the advancing keeper went begging, with lone striker Marwan Mohsen too slow to pop up in the box.

Uganda made rare forays forward but also had a half chance when Faruku Miya's low shot went wide from the edge of the area in the latter stages of the first period.

Joseph Ochaya also had a goal correctly ruled out for offside early in the second half while Egypt struggled to mount threats at the other end.

Cuper introduced El-Said and Greece-based winger Amr Warda to beef up attack, with the former shooting over the crossbar from the edge of the area after a half-hearted defensive clearance fell at his feet.

When talented winger Kahraba replaced Mahmoud Trezeguet in the last 10 minutes, Egypt looked more dangerous going forward and he orchestrated the decisive move one minute from time.

Kahraba's low cross found Salah, who fed the overlapping El-Said on the right hand side of the area to fire between the legs of keeper Denis Onyango and into the net. 

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


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