Egypt striker Bassem Morsi and teammate Mahmoud Kahraba (Reuters)
A hat-trick from in-form striker Bassem Morsi helped Egypt hammer minnows Chad 5-1 away from home in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifiers on Sunday.
It took Morsi no more than two minutes to give Egypt the lead, before making it two himself midway through the first half as the visitors were two-nil up.
Chad, however, managed to pull one back in the 38th minute through Nadjim Haroun, but Egypt star Mohamed Salah was quick to restore his side’s two-goal cushion just two minutes later.
Then 10 minutes into the second half, Mahmoud ‘Kahraba’ bagged his maiden senior goal, as Morsi made sure of victory two minutes past the hour mark to make it 5-1.
Egypt have now moved top of the group with six points following two wins from as many games, as major rivals Nigeria are two points behind following their 0-0 draw with Tanzania on Saturday.
Morsi Capitalized on an early howler from Chad's below-par keeper Mbairamadji Dillah, who spilled Kahraba’s cross from the left into the path of the Zamalek marksman to roll the ball into the net.
Despite the opposition’s low caliber, it seemed quite apparent that Egypt manager Hector Cuper was somewhat conservative in the away match - opting for a low backline while restricting the forward movement of his two full-backs.
But Egypt didn’t need any sort of creative play to find a breakthrough, with the Chadian defense and keeper making the Pharaohs mission easier with their shambolic display.
And it was the 25th minute when main striker Morsi was found by a silky through ball on the left, as he managed to run behind the Chad defense towards goal to beat their keeper at the near post.
With Egypt paying the price of their overly-cautious strategy, Chad were capable of finding oceans of space in their half, and keeper Ahmed El-Shennawi had to come to his side’s rescue several times.
Skipper Hazem Emam was clearly a weakness in the side, failing to properly defend his flank, and his failure to mark Haroun on the left handside of the area resulted in the hosts’ goal as El-Shennawi was also culpable.
The outsiders comeback hopes, however, were shattered shortly afterwards, with Roma forward Salah meriting on another gaffe from their defense to go through on goal and strike past the hapless Dillah to go into the dressing room with the scoreline 3-1.
The second half didn’t bring a quite different affair, with Egypt clearly too good for lowly Chad, and it was this time another on-fire forward finding the net in the 55th minute.
After seeing a header hit the woodwork, Kahraba made no mistake on his second attempt – with Salah opting to give his former Swiss league fellow the chance to strike from inside the box and score his first-ever senior goal.
A counter-attack by Egypt then saw Morsi cut inside before testing the keeper from outside the box, but it was his following chance that saw him actually score and grab his personal treble.
A pinpoint diagonal cross from substitute Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’, who replaced the not too-impressive Ramadan Sobhi, saw Bassem head his side’s fifth of the evening at the far post. He was then replaced by Moemen Zakareya.
With the score 5-1, Egypt then eased off, as Trezeguet and Zakareya had two late chances to add further goals but the duo missed the target.
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