Draw is reward for Egypt's performance against Nigeria: Cuper

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Saturday 26 Mar 2016

Cuper blames hot weather and bad pitch for his players' fatigue against Nigeria, vows to amend the Pharaohs' mistakes in the coming period

Hector Cuper
Egypt's coach Hector Cuper of Argentina (L) after reaching Alexandria's Borg El-Arab airport (Photo: EFA's official website)

Egypt coach Hector Cuper believes that the Pharaohs were lucky to snatch the late equaliser against Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations qualifiers, and vows to amend the mistakes ahead of Tuesday's second test.

"I can't deny that we were lucky to score the equaliser against Nigeria, but it was a reward for our performance through the whole match," Cuper told Egyptian reporters after the match.

AS Roma winger Mohamed Salah netted in stoppage time on Friday night as Egypt secured a precious 1-1 draw away to Nigeria that kept them at the top of their group in the qualifiers.

The valuable draw put Egypt in a comfortable position before they host the Super Eagles in the second of a double-header at Alexandria's Borg El-Arab Stadium on Tuesday.

"Nigeria is a strong team with excellent players who have a winning mentality as they play for big European clubs," Argentinean boss Cuper explained.

"We delivered an outstanding performance in the first half, but we had some faults in the second and we didn't maintain the same level. We will work to amend these mistakes in the coming period.

"Some players were exhausted due to the hot weather and bad pitch, and I admit that we were late in our substitutions.

"The whole team should be thanked for their performance amid these hard circumstances," the former Valencia and Inter Milan boss concluded.

Egypt, who have not qualified for the Nations Cup since winning the last of their record seven trophies in 2010, have seven points from three games, two ahead of Nigeria and three clear of third-placed Tanzania. Chad lie at the bottom with no points.

The winners will automatically reach next year's Nations Cup finals in Gabon.

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