Egypt labour to 1-0 win over Tanzania in Nations Cup warm-up

Ahram Online , Thursday 13 Jun 2019,
Ahmed Elmohamady
Egypt's Ahmed Elmohamady celebrates scoring their first goal (Reuters)

Egypt needed a second-half goal from Ahmed Elmohamady to break down minnows Tanzania on Thursday in the first of two warm-up games for the African Cup of Nations on home soil.

The Aston Villa right-back, who helped his club earn promotion to the Premier League last month, headed home four minutes past the hour mark to give Egypt an unconvincing win at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium.

The Pharaohs face Guinea on Sunday before kicking off their Nations Cup campaign against Zimbabwe at Cairo Stadium on 21 June. They will also meet Uganda and DR Congo in Group A of the tournament.

Tanzania were drawn in a tough group that includes giants Senegal and Algeria as well as Kenya.  

Coach Javier Aguirre opted to rest Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah and Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny, who joined up with the team later than their teammates because of their European commitments.

The Mexican introduced some new faces, including Zamalek's central defender Mahmoud Alaa and Pyramids' holding midfielder Nabil Emad.

Egypt were guilty of failing to take their chances in a first half they dominated.

They mainly counted on sending numerous crosses from both flanks, a strategy that proved efficient in breaching the defence.

Winger Amr Warda and lone striker Ahmed Ali both sent free headers over the bar when well-positioned to score while Tanzania's only chance fell to Simon Msuva, whose low shot from the edge of the area narrowly missed the target on 15 minutes.

Egypt left-back Ayman Ashraf created space for himself in the area in the 35th minute but opted to shoot with his weak right foot, with his effort smothered by keeper Aishi Manula.

The hosts' best chance came on the stroke of halftime when a loose ball fell for Elmohamady, whose goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by a defender.

Egypt piled on pressure in the early stages of the second half, with experienced playmaker Abdallah El-Said having an angled free-kick tipped over by Manula, who also pushed a Walid Soliman header onto the post.

The breakthrough came on 64 minutes when substitute Ahmed Mansour, a versatile defender who plays for Pyramids, whipped in an inviting cross for the unmarked Elmohamady whose header found the top corner.

Egypt eased off after taking the lead as Tanzania barely troubled them. However, the record seven-time African champions must up their game if they are to challenge for an eighth honor.

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

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