Four days after being held at home by Kenya, Egypt have conceded another disappointing scoreless draw against Comoros, a team they outrank by almost 100 places in the FIFA ranking, on Monday in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.
An injury-hit Egypt failed to live up to expectations, clearly failing to make up for the absence of Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah, Braga striker Ahmed "Kouka" and Ahly's in-form midfielder Hamdi Fathi.
Coach Hossam El-Badry already had a depleted squad after dropping seven players from Pyramids FC for disciplinary reasons, not to mention the absence of flamboyant winger Ramadan Sobhi and striker Mostafa Fathi, who are on duty with the U-23 team.
Comoros, who played Egypt for the first time in their history, have now moved to the top of G group with four points, while Egypt are second with only two points after two games.
Kenya will host Togo later in the day.
El-Badry made three substitutions to his team that started in the 1-1 draw against Kenya last Thursday, fielding Mohamed Hani, Ayman Ashraf and Ahmed "Zizo" El-Sayed for Ahmed Fathi, Abdallah Gomaa and Hussein El-Shahat respectively.
The Pharaohs had a blistering start and could have gotten in the lead as early as the ninth minute when Mahmoud "Kahraba" Abdel-Moneim got off his marker only to see his close range effort crash off the post.
The early opportunity raised alarm bells for the hosts, who regained their composure and managed to neutralise all threats coming from their visitors.
The seven-time African Champions obviously lacked the spark and imagination upfront with the absence of talisman Mohamed Salah and Pyramids FC playmaker Abdallah El-Said.
The team lacked fluidity and harmony against a swift team that entertained a packed Malouzini Stadium.
Les Coelacantes had the best chances in this half, putting keeper Mohamed El-Shennawi to the test to keep his clean sheet.
El-Badry failed to turn his fortunes around in the second half, though Mahmoud "Trezeguet" Hassan wasted a golden opportunity when he brilliantly intercepted a through pass from second half substitute El-Shahat to go clear on target and see his shot go wide.
El-Shennawi came again to the rescue to block a clear chance from Said Bakari, who ghosted in the area past defenders Ahmed Hegazi and Mohamed Alaa to fire from close range.
El-Badry now has 10 months to reshuffle his team, as the qualifiers for Cameroon 2021 won't resume until September 2020 in what is deemed as no more than a formality.
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