Preview: Depleted Egypt eyeing repeat of 1998 win over Burkina Faso

Ahram Online , Tuesday 31 Jan 2017,
Egypt's midfielder Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim (C) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final football match between Egypt and Morocco in Port-Gentil on January 29, 2017 AFP

Egypt can draw inspiration from a famous win over then hosts Burkina Faso in 1998 when they meet the same opponents in the African Cup of Nations semi-final on Wednesday, but will have to make up for more and more injuries.

The Pharaohs met Burkina Faso at the same stage 19 years ago, claiming a 2-0 win thanks to a brace from their all-time leading scorer Hossam Hassan.

Egypt also came back from two goals down to record a 4-2 group-stage win over Burkina Faso in an exciting group-stage game in the 2000 Nations Cup.

But they will have to do without a number of regulars as they battle more injuries, with lone striker Marwan Mohsen becoming the latest casualty after tearing a cruciate knee ligament in the 1-0 quarter-final victory over Morocco on Sunday.

Sporting Braga striker Ahmed Kouka is likely to be his replacement but Egypt will also miss Arsenal's midfielder Mohamed Elneny, who was also unavailable for the Morocco clash, and regular left-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafi.

The mounting injuries may force coach Hector Cuper to field rookie left-back Karim Hafez again although the French-based defender was largely exposed against Morocco before being replaced shortly after the hour mark.

Versatile defender Ahmed Fathi is likely to partner Tarek Hamed in the heart of Egypt's midfield, with Hull City's Ahmed Elmohamady expected to keep his place as a right-back.

"I'm very sad because of these injuries but I'm confident the other players we have can step in and cover," Argentinean boss Cuper told a news conference ahead of the match, which will take place at the Libreville Stadium in Gabon's capital.

Egypt will breathe a sigh of relief that they will no longer play in Port Gentil, where they struggled to move the ball around because of a terrible pitch during the group-stage games, but they were given just two days to prepare for the Burkina Faso clash after eliminating Morocco.

"It is not an ideal situation, but we have no choice but to adapt," the 61-year-old tactician said.

"The players will be given time to rehabilitate and hopefully they will be ready come Wednesday night."

Should Egypt win, they will face either Ghana or Cameroon in the final on Sunday.

The record seven-time champions defeated Cameroon 1-0 in the 2008 final and beat Ghana with the same score in the 2010 final.

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


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