Uninspiring Egypt win AFCON group with 2-0 victory over Uganda

Hatem Maher , Sunday 30 Jun 2019,
Egypt's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring their first goal with Ahmed El Mohamady (Photo: REUTERS)

Already-qualified Egypt won their African Cup of Nations group with a 2-0 victory over Uganda at Cairo Stadium on Sunday, but the flattering score-line was hardly convincing for the demanding supporters following another lackluster display.

Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Elmohamady, who also scored in the previous 2-0 win over DR Congo, were on target again in the first half as Egypt made it three wins out of three and maintained their run of clean sheets.

But for those who did not even watch the match, a quick glance at the statistics will show how the result was harsh on a brave Uganda side, who made life hard for their illustrious opponents.

Uganda had 16 shots, including 11 on target, to Egypt's five. They also won nine corners compared to a solitary one for the record seven-time African champions.

Just when it looked as though Uganda would stun the home crowd, Liverpool wizard Salah scored out of nowhere, brilliantly curling a left-foot free-kick over the wall and past the despairing dive of keeper Denis Onyango.

Aston Villa's Elmohamady doubled the lead on the stroke of halftime to dampen the spirits of Uganda, albeit briefly as the Cranes came out with all guns blazing in the second half to waste several goal-scoring chances.

Egypt finished on top of Group A with nine points, five ahead of second-placed Uganda who joined them in the last 16 after DR Congo (third with three points) crushed Zimbabwe 4-0 in the other group game.

The Pharaohs will face a third placed side from Groups C, D or E on Saturday as they bid for an eighth Nations Cup crown.

Neat interplay

Uganda outplayed their fancied opponents for the majority of the first half, with their compact defending and neat interplay upfront unsettling them.

Egypt were indebted to goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawi for pulling off some fine saves to thwart the Ugandans, including a one-handed stop that denied a goal-bound header from the lively Lumala Abdu.

He also saved a swerving long-range shot from Allan Kyambadde as Uganda grew increasingly dangerous.

Egypt made an unscripted substitution after 25 minutes when lone striker Ahmed Kouka picked up an injury, making way for Ahly's Marwan Mohsen who once again failed to make his presence felt.

Although Egypt were on the back foot, they scored against the run of play in the 36th minute when Salah's superb free-kick left Onyango with no chance.

The goal took the wind out of Uganda's sails and Egypt killed off their hopes just before the halftime whistle, Elmohamady receiving left-back Ayman Ashraf's cross with a right-foot half volley which took a slight deflection on its way into the bottom corner.

In an end-to-end second half, both sides had chances to score, with Uganda having the lion's share.

Uganda will rue their woeful finishing, with Farouk Miya blasting over the bar after rookie defender Baher El-Mohammadi made a hash of a clearance and Emmanuel Okwi volleying wide with the goal at his mercy after Ahmed Hegazi's weak header back to the keeper was intercepted.

At the other end, Salah could have scored his second of the night when he was released by a deft pass from Mahmoud Trezeguet, only for Onyango to thwart him with a one-handed save after rushing out in a timely manner.

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

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