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Wasteful Egypt slump to home defeat by Jordan in friendly

Hatem Maher , Wednesday 27 Jan 2016
Egypt
Egypt's full-back Omar Gaber (L) in action against Jordan in a friendly game in Aswan on Wednesday (the Egyptian Football Association Media Center)
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A wasteful Egypt side, missing their foreign-based players, slumped to their second defeat under veteran coach Hector Cuper following a 1-0 home loss to Jordan in a friendly game on Wednesday.

Fans were allowed to attend the match, which was played in the Upper Egyptian city of Aswan, despite a lengthy crowd ban in domestic football. However, their cheers failed to spur a lethargic Egypt side in the first quarter of an hour until Jordan scored what proved to be the winner on 19 minutes.

A free kick from Mohammad Al-Dmeiri was not properly cleared and the ball fell to the unmarked Ahmed Samir to fire home from close range.

Egypt squandered a slew of chances afterwards to lose one of two matches arranged as part of the team's preparations for two crucial African Cup of Nations qualifying games against Nigeria in March. They next face Libya on Friday. 

The defeat is Egypt's second since Argentinean boss Cuper took over in March 2015 after the 1-0 loss they suffered at Chad in the first leg of a World Cup qualifier last November. The Pharaohs recovered in the second leg to crush their modest opponents 4-0 and reach the qualifying group phase.

Egypt are on top of Group G of the Nations Cup qualifiers with maximum six points from wins over Tanzania and Chad. Nigeria are second on four points. Egypt are bidding to reach next year's Gabon finals for the first time since winning the last of their record seven titles in 2010. 

The team missed the likes of AS Roma winger Mohamed Salah and Arsenal's newly-signed midfielder Mohamed Elneny but their starting line-up still included the stars of Cairo giants Ahly and Zamalek.

Masry's Ahmed Raouf played as a lone striker in front of three attacking midfielders in Zamalek's in-form winger Mostafa Fathi and Ahly duo Ramadan Sobhi and Abdallah El-Saied.

Egypt started to make their presence felt after falling behind, with skipper Hossam Ghaly almost restoring parity on 31 minutes when his free header went over the bar following a cross from the right.

Fathi also went close early in the second half following a superb individual effort, skipping past a couple of challengers on the right before his chip from a tight angle hit the side netting.

There were further goal-scoring chances from defender Rami Rabia and substitute Ayman Hefni but Egypt's onslaught could have cost them another goal in the dying minutes when the post thwarted a Jordanian counter attack.

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