Egypt scrape win over Guinea with late Mostafa Mohamed strike

Hatem Maher , Sunday 5 Jun 2022

Egypt marked the debut of new coach Ehab Galal with an uninspiring display but still snatched a 1-0 home win over Guinea in their opening African Cup of Nations qualifier on Sunday, thanks to a late fortuitous goal from substitute Mostafa Mohamed.

Egypt v Guinea
Egypt players celebrate their goal against Guinea (Ahram)

The Galatasaray striker came on five minutes past the hour mark as Galal sought to beef up what was otherwise a toothless attack, with Guinea having the better of goal-scoring chances at Cairo's International Stadium.

Egypt rode their luck with three minutes remaining as a deflected shot from Mohamed wrong-footed keeper Ibrahim Kone and gave them an opening Group D win before they meet Ethiopia in Malawi on Thursday.

Liverpool talisman Mohamed Salah, who came face-to-face with club teammate Naby Keita of Guinea, looked isolated throughout as Egypt struggled for openings upfront and survived a couple of scares at the other end.  

The Pharaohs, who kicked off their bid to atone for an agonizing shootout loss to Senegal in the Nations Cup final last February, moved level on three points with Malawi, who beat Ethiopia 2-1 earlier in the day.

The top two in the group will reach next year's Nations Cup finals in the Ivory Coast. 

First match

Galal, who took over following the departure of veteran Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz, introduced a 4-3-3 formation in his first match in charge, with Stuttgart winger Omar Marmoush leading a three-pronged attack that also featured Salah on the right and Zamalek's Ahmed Zizo on the left.

But Marmoush, who is not an out-and-out striker, struggled to trouble Guinea's defence and Egypt's three-man midfield found it hard to circumvent Guinea's high-pressing game in the early stages.

Even when Guinea retreated into their own half, Egypt were still hampered by too many mis-placed passes in their build-up play.

The hosts only created one goal-scoring opportunity and a couple of half chances before the break.

Zizo could have given Egypt a third-minute lead when full-back Ayman Ashraf robbed Thierno Barry down the left and fed the winger, who volleyed over the bar from a good scoring position.

Defender Mahmoud El-Wensh also sent a far-post header straight into the hands of keeper Kone, who also tipped over a free kick from Marmoush six minutes before the break.

Egypt were even more sluggish in a bore second half, with Guinea coming close to stunning the home crowd on two occasions.

In the 54th minute, CD Tenerife winger Barry flicked a pass that found him unmarked on the edge of the area and sent a half-volley just wide.  

Seven minutes from time, AS Roma midfielder Amadou Diawara was picked out by a square pass from Keita but saw his side-footed effort narrowly miss the target.

Egypt then had the last word, with defender Mouctar Diakhaby at fault twice.

The Valencia man poorly cleared a cut-back from Egypt substitute Ibrahim Adel, with Mohamed taking full advantage to drill home with the help of a wicked deflection off the sliding Diakhaby.

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