File photo: Egypt's national team(photo: Reuters)
Egypt took their recent frustrations out on hapless Swaziland by thrashing the modest African outfit 10-0 in their last warm-up game before Tuesday's World Cup qualifier against Zimbabwe.
The Pharaohs have finally snapped a four-match losing streak that saw them drop to 75 in the FIFA monthly raking for their worst-ever position, having lost 3-0 to Ghana, 4-2 to Ivory Coast, 2-1 to Chile and 3-1 to Qatar since January.
Friday's win is their fourth-biggest victory ever. Egypt crushed Saudi Arabia 13-0 in a regional game in 1961, thumped Laos 15-0 in a friendly game in 1963, thrashed South Korea 10-0 in the 1964 Olympic Games and routed Yemen 14-0 in Pan Arab Games one year later.
Local-based players Mohamed Ibrahim, Ahmed Hammoudi and Ahmed Gaafar - all of whom have impressed recently in the Egyptian Premier League - scored their first international goals.
Experienced midfielder Ahmed Eid, Harras El-Hodoud striker Ahmed Hassan Mekki and Basel forward Mohamed Salah scored two goals each as Egypt swept aside Swaziland, few days before taking on Zimbabwe in their third Group G game of the World Cup qualifiers.
The seven-time African champions, who are bidding to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1990, lie on top of the group with maximum six points from two games, three ahead of Guinea and five clear of Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Only the group winners will advance to the decisive round, where they will play a two-legged tie to obtain one of the five African tickets for next year's edition in Brazil.
No recognized striker
Egypt coach Bob Bradley played without a recognized striker, relying instead on the pace and cheeky skills of Mohamed Ibrahim and Mohamed Salah to carve out openings.
Ibrahim, Zamalek's promising youngster who is putting in some superb displays in the Egyptian Premier League, scored his first international goal to put the Pharaohs ahead after five minutes.
He neatly exchanged passes with Basel forward Salah to break clear and dink the ball over Swaziland's advancing keeper.
Salah turned from provider to scorer to double the lead eight minutes later, firing home on the rebound after a free-kick from midfielder Hosni Abd-Rabou was parried by the keeper into his path.
The 20-year-old notched his second of the night on the stroke of halftime after running onto a deft through pass to finish home with aplomb and experienced attacking midfielder Eid, who was introduced in the second half, made it 4-0 on 46 minutes.
Harras El-Hodoud striker Mekki added the fifth with a follow-up effort and Hammoudi, a skilful playmaker who plays for Egypt's modest club Smouha, also found the net following a breakaway.
An own goal further extended the gap and Eid made it 8-0 after converting a penalty awarded for a foul on Hammoudi with 12 minutes remaining.
Two goals in stoppage time completed the rout. An unstoppable left-foot shot by Mekki left the keeper with no chance before Zamalek's towering frontman Gaafar scored with a close-range shot.
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