Lacklustre Egypt sunk by Ivory Coast in U-23 African Championship

Hatem Maher, Thursday 1 Dec 2011

Egypt's U-23 team, who needed a win to guarantee a place in the African Championship semis, slump to a 1-0 defeat by Ivory Coast following another below-par display

Egypt 0-1 Ivory Coast

Egypt missed out on the chance of reaching the U-23 African Championship semi-final with one game to spare after another mediocre display saw them suffer a 1-0 defeat by Ivory Coast in Group B on Wednesday.

Moussa Kone capitalized on some sloppy defending to score the winner with eight minutes remaining as Egypt have once again failed to live up to expectations, having been disappointing in their previous match despite beating Gabon 1-0.

Ivory Coast now top the group with four points, one ahead of Egypt. South Africa are third on two points while Gabon lie at the bottom with a solitary point.

Egypt need to beat South Africa in their last match to ensure their advance to the semis as they bid to end a 20-year wait for an Olympic appearance.

The winners, runners-up and third-placed team in the African Championship will directly qualify for next year’s London Olympic Games. The fourth-placed side will have to overcome an Asian representative in a playoff.

A sluggish Egypt side failed to trouble Ivory Coast’s defence in the first half, with constant mis-placed passes in midfield hampering them and giving the Elephants the chance to have the better possession.

Egypt could not muster a single effort on goal until the 32nd minute when a powerful right-foot shot from midfielder Shehab Ahmed was tipped over by Ivory Coast keeper Ibrahim Kone.

Ivory Coast, who won most of the physical duels, were unlucky not to break the deadlock in the last five minutes before the break.

Vamouti Diomande shot wide with the goal at his mercy after Egypt keeper Ahmed El-Shennawy parried a low shot into his path while Wakalible Lago missed the target with only El-Shennawy to beat after latching onto a defence-splitting pass.

Egypt slightly improved in the second half following the introduction of midfielder Saleh Gomaa and forward Mohamed Salah but they still found it difficult to create clear-cut chances.

They had a half-chance in the 56th minute when Ivory Coast guardian Kone blocked a sliding shot by lone striker Marwan Mohsen following a low cross from Mohamed El-Nenni.

Egypt had to thank El-Shennawy for producing two quick-lightning saves to keep the score goalless but he was powerless to prevent Moussa from opening the scoring in the 82nd minute.

Kone hit a low shot into the bottom corner following a goal-mouth scramble after Egypt defenders failed to clear the danger to hand Ivory Coast a precious win.   

Short link: