Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt secured a perfect start for their 2017 African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign after beating minnows Tanzania 3-0 at home on Sunday.
Three second-half goals in only nine minutes secured a precious victory for the Egyptians who want to forget their unwanted team record of failing to qualify for the Nations Cup three times in row.
Sunday's victory over the Taifa Stars is the second for Egypt under the guidance of coach Hector Cuper as the team played one friendly, defeating Malawi 2-1 in the Argentinean's first match in charge.
New faces like Zamalek's rising forward Mostafa Fathi and Ahly's midfielder Ramadan Sobhi had the chance to make their international debut in Egypt's opening game of Group G, which also includes Chad and Nigeria.
The Egyptian team is currently sharing the group summit with Nigeria with a superior goal difference to the first.
Egypt, who have won seven AFCON trophies, will return to action on 4 September when they face Chad in the qualifiers' second round.
Eyeing a quick goal, Cuper started the match with the 4-4-2 classic formation, deploying striking duo Mohamed El-Gabbas and Ahmed Hassan Mekki in front.
The Pharaohs piled up pressure early to snatch the upper hand that lasted through the first 30 minutes.
Fiorentina defender Ahmed Hegazy could have given the hosts an early lead just four minutes from the start as he netted a perfect header from inside the box, but the referee disallowed the goal for offside.
Keeping trials to advance, ENNPI's winger Mahmoud Kahraba went one on one with the keeper who cleverly denied a certain goal.
In the 25th minute, the Egyptians bad luck continued as they had the second disallowed goal by Ahmed Hassan Mekki after teammate Rabia was judged to have fouled the keeper inside the six-yard box.
Tanzania players began to restore the balance after the half hour mark, beginning to impose some real threat on the Egyptian teams net.
Just seconds before the break, Chelsea's winger Mohamed Salah sent a brilliant free kick from the right but the keeper was on target.
Egypt revived in the Second half
Egypt’s players looked determined to break the deadlock since the second half start as they controlled the ball perfectly but without reaching the goal.
After a perfect pass from Mohamed Salah's corner kick in the 60th minute, Sporting Lisbon's defender Rami Rabia rose up high to head the ball in, scoring Egypt's opener.
Five minutes later, Zamalek's striker Basem Morsi continued Egypt's revival as he doubled the score from a perfect header after receiving a nice pass from active teammate Salah.
In the 69th minute, Salah's superb performance continued as he added the third from a right-footed lob following a perfect one-two with ex-Basel teammate Elneny.
Egypt then played calmly as Cuper gave the chance for both Fathi and Sobhi to prove their worth, while the Tanzianian team was fighting for even a morale goal but in vain.
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