Egypt lose to Nigeria in friendly after conceding second fastest goal in international football

Hatem Maher , Tuesday 26 Mar 2019

File photo: Football Soccer - African Nations Cup qualifiers “ Group G “ Egypt v Nigeria - Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt - 29/03/2016 - Egypt's Omar Gaber and Nigeria’s Stanley Amuzie in action. REUTERS

A weakened Egypt side leaked the second fastest goal in the history of international football to slump to a 1-0 friendly loss to Nigeria in Asaba as they kicked off their preparations for the African Nations Cup on Tuesday.

Fans in the Stephen Keshi stadium had barely taken their seats when towering striker Paul Onuachu blasted home an unstoppable volley less than eight seconds after kick-off in one of the few highlights of a dour affair.

Only former Germany striker Lukas Podolski scored a faster goal, having netted after six seconds in a friendly against Ecuador in 2013.

Nigeria were content to move the ball around smoothly and draw cheers from the home crowd as Egypt were largely restricted to a ball-watching role.

Even when the Pharaohs had possession, they struggled to carve out openings as an experimental side failed to prove their worth, producing another lackluster performance following a 1-1 draw at Niger in a dead-rubber Nations Cup qualifier last Saturday which ended the team's perfect run under new coach Javier Aguirre.

The Mexican, who tasted his first defeat in charge of Egypt, gave debuts to Zamalek keeper Mahmoud Gennesh and central defender Mahmoud Alaa as well as Smouha left-back Ahmed Aboul-Fotouh and Dakhleya winger Islam Gaber.

There were few familiar faces, including winger Mahmoud Trezeguet and Zamalek's no-nonsense defensive midfielder Tarek Hamed.

Egypt were taken by surprise when a long ball immediately after kick-off found Midtjylland's Onuachu, whose neat control took him past the novice Aboul-Fotouh to hammer a fierce volley into the top corner of the net from the edge of the area.

The visitors' forwards were unable to make their presence felt until late in the game when Greek-based winger Amr Warda and striker Ahmed Kouka were introduced.

The first meaningful effort fell to Kouka on 82 minutes when he was released by a through pass but he dithered on the ball to allow his challenger to make a sliding tackle and thwart his attempted shot.

Gaber then created Egypt's best chance, with his long-range thunderbolt drawing a fine save from Daniel Akpeyi, who also saved a follow-up effort from Kouka.

Egypt are expected to arrange three more friendly games before hosting the Nations Cup, which kicks off on 21 June. They will be eyeing a record-extending eighth triumph on home soil.

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