Egypt s defender Ahmed Hegazi (L) fights for the ball with Nigeria s forward Kelechi Iheanacho during the Group D Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Nigeria and Egypt at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 11, 2022. AFP
"There have been a lot of surprises in the tournament over the past few days and we wanted to avoid such upsets. We gave them a lot of respect and we were very focused on winning the game to ensure our qualification to the next round," the towering defender said in a post-game interview.
The Pharaohs wasted several clear-cut chances that could have secured a comfortable victory while Hegazi, who won the man of the match award, marshalled the defence to keep keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi unthreatened.
"We could have scored more goals but today we were better. We take it step by step and we are improving each game," Hegazi added.
"As you can see all the matches are difficult because all the teams now have good players and good coaches. We hope to progress to the final and win the trophy because that's our dream."
Egypt will face the winners of Group E -- which includes Ivory Coast, Algeria, Equatorial Guinea and Sierra Leone -- in the round of 16 on 26 January.
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