Egypt, Iraq play out goalless draw in friendly game

Hatem Maher, Tuesday 17 Apr 2012

Pharaohs wrap up their training camp in the United Arab Emirates with a goalless draw against Iraq


Egypt played out a 0-0 draw with Iraq on Tuesday in the last game of their UAE training camp, for their second draw since coach Bob Bradley took over last year.

The seven-time African champions were lucky to escape with a draw after Iraq squandered some clear-cut chances, including two in the latter stages of the game.

Egypt defeated a second-string Nigeria side 3-2 and crushed minnows Mauritania 3-0 in their previous two matches in the UAE camp.

Under American boss Bradley, Egypt won six friendly games, drew twice and lost once - a 2-0 defeat by five-time world champions Brazil in November last year.

Iraq had the better of the early exchanges, exploiting the defensive gaps natural central midfielder Hossam Ghaly left at the back in the first 25 minutes.

Ghaly, a talented holding midfielder, partnered Zamalek’s Mahmoud Fathallah in the heart of Egypt’s backline.

Skipper Younis Mahmoud almost put Iraq ahead midway through the first half when he ran onto a neat defence-splitting pass from Nashat Akram but his curling shot from inside the area went just wide.

Iraq had another chance at 24 minutes when veteran keeper Essam El-Hadary fumbled a tame free kick from Akram, but Egypt’s left-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafy intercepted to clear the danger.

Egypt then took control, dominating possession with some precise passes from the likes of Mohamed Abou-Treika, Ahmed Temsah and Ahmed Hassan Mekki – the three forwards who supported lone striker Mohamed "Gedo" Nagy.

But they could only create one goal-scoring opportunity when Gedo cut inside his marker in the 27th minute before firing a right-footed shot that was superbly tipped over by Iraq keeper Mohammed Gassid.

Chances were few and far between in a calmer second half but Iraq still posed threats on the break.

Egypt’s sole opportunity after the break fell to Fathallah, who could not find the net with the goal at his mercy after a free-kick from Abou-Treika fell to his feet from three yards out.

The Pharaohs had to thank El-Hadary, who vowed to defy critics calling on him to retire, for keeping the score goalless when he denied Iraq on two occasions after some neatly-worked counter attacks.

Egypt line-up: Essam El-Hadary, Ahmed Elmohamady, Mahmoud Fathallah, Hossam Ghaly, Mohamed Abdel-Shafi, Hossam Ashour (Ibrahim Salah 68), Ashour El-Taqui (Walid Soliman 74), Mohamed Abou-Treika (Ahmed Hassan 59), Ahmed Hassan Mekki, Ahmed Temsah, Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’ (Emad Meteb 59).

Iraq line-up: Mohammed Gassid, Bassim Abbas (Hussam Kadhim 72), Ali Rehema (Mahdi Karim 59), Mohammed Abbas, Ibrahim Kamil (Fareed Majeed 32), Qusay Munir, Nashat Akram, Salam Shakir, Alaa Abdul-Zahra (Mostafa Karim 74), Karrar Jassim, Younis Mahmoud.

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