Group C: Egypt vs Mozambique

17 Jan

Phase 1 of the Africa Cup of Nations was an eye opener. With the heavyweights not playing to their full potential, a world of possibility was open to the minnows in the competition. Until yesterday, Cote D’Ivoire, Cameroon, Nigeria and Algeria had only mustered a solitary point between them! Who would have picked that as a start to the tournament? Before kick-off last week, you would have bet good money on Nigeria being the only team of this quartet to have dropped points at this stage as they had met another contender, Egypt. Ironic that the Pharaohs are the one team on the list of “big teams” that did not make it to June’s World Cup.

Egypt was the only team of the African football powers, to prosper with their opening game. The Pharaohs came to Benguela to signal their intent in the tournament and further flex their muscles. Perhaps they tried too hard to outplay Mozambique, who turned out to be worthy opponents. The Mambas were not afraid to play against the Egyptians, and while they only played 1 man up front, they got up in support effortlessly well.

The Pharaohs didn’t expect that at all and found it hard to commit men forward themselves, for fear of conceding on the counter. The only downside for Mozambique in the opening exchanges was a lack of quality in the final third, shots were closer to the corner flag, passes rarely found their mark and when they did, a Pharaoh was on hand to mop it up.

The Mambas had obviously studied Egypt to the letter and got behind the ball quickly when they lost possession. Egypt continuously played into their hands as they almost  inevitably were forced to give the ball away, such was the organisation and attempt to take something from this game.

Zidan who had spent the half overrunning the ball and arguing with most his teammates, suddenly sniffed half a chance. He shook off the defence and drifted in from the right. He got a decent shot on target which Rafael parried… straight into Meteeb’s path. The keeper managed to recover and pulled off a double save at the striker’s feet.

Egypt then showed their true desperation, resorting to shots from distance, which Rafael was more than happy to collect. Once again the Egyptians managed to create a break. A two-on-one, Meteeb and Zidan closing in on goal, Zidan cuts right, Meteeb cuts right… they more or less bump into each other… the ball ends up in Rafael’s hands. The half ended with Egypt shell-shocked and unhappy with their performance.

With half time came the change. Whatever the manager said to them in the dressing room paid off straight away. The Pharaohs came out flying. They attacked down the right wing. The ball was whipped in and turned in by… Khan… Mozambique’s right back! Where have we heard that before? Oh yeah, in the Mamba’s first game! 1 – 0

The Mozambicans stuck to their task and picked up where they left off in the first half. They committed men to the attack but again, the gulf in quality told. They bossed the midfield and pressed for an equaliser but to no avail. Again, shots were closer to the corner flag, passes rarely found their mark and when they did, a Pharaoh was on hand to mop it up. The Mambas gave it a real go but in the end they came up short.

Then a half break, Meteeb ran hard at the heart of the Mamba defence but found himself isolated. He turned well to hold up play and await his support. He laid it back and it was played back towards goal at pace. Gedo was first to react, he flicked the ball up, swivelled round and POW! Back of the net. It was a case of the right man, in the right place, at the right time… not for Mozambique. 2 – 0

The game came to an end with Egypt more in control. Mozambique gave a good account of themselves and Nigeria will do well to give them the full respect they deserve. The Egyptians showed a champion’s touch, by not playing to their exceptional standards but still grinding out a convincing victory.

Egypt become the second team to reach the quarter finals, which gives them the opportunity to try an experimental side and rest players for their final group game. I can’t see that happening. Hassan Shehata is under pressure to deliver this cup having failed to qualify for the World Cup. He will field a strong side and have them send a message to the other hopefuls. The Pharaohs also boast a 13 game unbeaten record in the Africa Cup of Nations and they’d like to add to that tally.

Final Score: Egypt 2 – 0 Mozambique

Man of the Match: it has to be Gomaa. He snuffed out everything the Mambas threw and organised the back 4 into an impressive defensive unit.

Goal of the Match: Gedo. Simply magic.

This time tomorrow will be a whole week down and 2 to go! I’m putting together my team of the week (11 plus 3 subs), why not have some fun and send us your African Dream Team of the week?

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2 Responses to “Group C: Egypt vs Mozambique”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Group C: Egypt vs Mozambique « Out of Africa | About Egypt | Egypt Travel Portal | Your guide to Egypt - January 19, 2010

    […] The game came to an end with Egypt more in control. Mozambique gave a good account of themselves and Nigeria will do well to give them the full respect they deserve. The Egyptians showed a champion's touch, by not playing to their … Originally posted here:  Group C: Egypt vs Mozambique « Out of Africa […]

  2. Group C: Egypt vs Mozambique « Out of Africa Video - January 19, 2010

    […] Group C: Egypt vs Mozambique « Out of Africa Tags: focus-on-production, kft, quarter, quarter-finals, rest-players, shehata, story, under-pressure

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