Egypt coach Cuper plays down friendly loss to Jordan

Ahram Online , Wednesday 27 Jan 2016

Hector Cuper

Egypt coach Hector Cuper played down the significance of a 1-0 friendly loss at home to Jordan on Wednesday, saying his primary objective was to test some new faces before the team face Nigeria in two crucial African Cup of Nations qualifying games in March.

The Pharaohs were undone by a 19th-minute goal from Jordan's Ahmed Samir, who buried a loose ball home from close range after the hosts' defence failed to clear a free kick in the Upper Egyptian city of Aswan.

The match was the first of two friendlies arranged before Egypt meet Nigeria as both vie for the Group G ticket to next year's African Cup of Nations in Gabon.

"The fans want to see the team win all games. We lost a match but we tested new players and this was important because playing on the international level is completely different from playing in domestic competitions," the former Valencia and Inter Milan boss told Al-Hayat TV.

"We tried new things. Some were good and some were not and this naturally happens.

"We only lost in terms of the result but it's still a friendly match not an official one," he added.

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. Egypt recovered in the second leg to crush their modest opponents 4-0 and reach the qualifying group phase.

They 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, who face Libya in a second friendly in Aswan on Friday, are bidding to reach the Nations Cup for the first time since winning the last of their record seven titles in 2010.

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