Egypt play out 2-2 draw with plucky Jamaica in friendly

Omar Zaazou , Thursday 5 Jun 2014

Egypt fail to overcome unfancied Jamaica in a friendly meeting in London

Egypt's Mohamed Slah (L) celebrates with teammate Ahmed Elmohamady after scoring a goal during their international friendly soccer match against Chile at the National stadium in Santiago May 30, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

An experimental Egypt side featuring several fringe players were held to a 2-2 draw by plucky Jamaica in a friendly game at the Matchroom Stadium in London on Wednesday.

Basel midfielder Mohamed Elneny headed Egypt in front early in the game before Simon Dawkins and Joel Grant helped the Jamaicans go the locker room with a 2-1 lead.

Substitute Bassem Morsi, who plays for Egyptian Premier League side El-Entag El-Harby, equalized in the 72nd minute to spare his side a second defeat in a row after Egypt slumped to a 3-2 loss at World Cup-bound Chile last Saturday.

It was Egypt's first draw under coach Shawky Gharib, whose previous games in charge saw the team beat Bosnia 2-0 before losing to Chile. They begin their African Nations Cup qualifying campaign in September in a group that includes big guns Tunisia and Senegal. 

The seven-time African champions, who were meeting Jamaica for the first time, had to play without Ahly and Zamalek internationals due to the Cairo top duo's African commitments.

Jamaica outplay Egypt

Egypt started the game brightly and needed just four minutes to open the scoring through Elneny who glanced home a powerful header following a corner kick from ex-Basel teammate Mohamed Salah for his debut Egypt goal.

Shawky Gharib's men relatively had the upper hand in the early stages, thanks to their three-man midfield that featured Elneny, Hossam Ghaly and Hosni Abd-Rabou, but they still struggled for fluency upfront.

Capitalizing on a defensive blunder, Derby County's Dawkins drew the Jamaicans level when he slotted home from point-blank range between keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi's legs, with the Egypt rearguard mere bystanders on 26 minutes.

With the Pharaohs still struggling to work the ball in the final third, they were punished again 12 minutes later when Grant was allowed to advance following an error from defender Aly Gahazal, rounding Abd-Rabou before curling home from inside the area.

Substitute Morsy saves Egypt

The second half saw Egypt in full control, with the opponents apparently content with the result, but it was Chelsea winger Salah who was guilty of two glaring misses early after the break.

After a good run with the ball, the lively Egypt winger broke into the area before narrowly striking wide from close range when it looked easy to score.

His second chance, however, was even more staggering as he pounced on a loose ball before lashing wide with his right foot with the goal gaping.

But the 21-year-old managed to atone for his wasted chances when his pin-point diagonal cross was headed home by substitute Morsy, who beat his marker to the ball for his side's leveler in the 72nd minute.  

Egypt remained dictating play and had a chance to win the match but Hull City wing-back Ahmed Elmohamady skied his free kick high to deny his side a victory over a humble Jamaica side.

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