FIFA RANKING (Jan. 2014):
1) Spain - 1507 points
2) Germany - 1318 pts
3) Argentina - 1251 pts
4) Colombia - 1200 pts
5) Portugal - 1172 pts
Football News
Poll

How long will David Moyes last at Manchester United?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
News Links
newsnow
google news
Recommended Reads

Posts Tagged ‘Egypt’

Egypt beat Uganda in friendly

Whilst a state of emergency was being declared across many of the states in Egypt and scores of people were being killed in the violence that has flared up in Cairo and elsewhere in the troubled country, the national team, led by American coach Bob Bradley, escaped to the relative tranquillity of the Red Sea resort of El Gouna where they faced Milutin Sredojevic’s Uganda in a friendly that really was meaningless when compared to the terrible events ongoing nearby.

Only a few hundred people were in the stadium to witness the Egyptian team continue their recent run of good form with a 3-0 victory against a Uganda side that had won two games in a row themselves. Striker Ahmed Hassan Koka of Portuguese Primeira Liga club Rio Ave gave the home side the lead in the twenty second minute and it remained that way until FC Basel’s Mohamed Salah doubled the advantage twelve minutes after the break. Substitute Ibrahim Salah of Al Orubah in Saudi Arabia wrapped up the scoring ten minutes after coming off the bench to replace Mohamed El Nenny. Egypt’s next outing is scheduled to be a home World Cup qualifier against Guinea in September but the situation in the country will obviously determine exactly when and where that match takes place.

2010 African Cup of Nations Final: Egypt 1-0 Ghana

Sunday 31st January 2010
Estadio 11 de Novembro, Luanda, Angola
Weather: 30c, wind 15kmph, chance of showers

Egypt 1 (Geddo 86)
Ghana 0

TEAMS

Egypt: El Hadary, Al-Muhamadi, Goma’a, Fathy (Moatasem 89), Moawad (Abdel-Shafy 55), Ghaly, Said, Hassan, Hosni, Zidan, Motaeb (Geddo 70)

Ghana: Kingson, Inkoom, Vorsah, Addy, Sarpei, Agyemang Badu, Annan, Ayew, Asamoah, Gyan (Adiyah 87), Opoku (Addo 89)

Tournament top scorer and super sub par excellence Mohamed Nagy “Geddo” was the hero once again as he came off the bench to grab his fifth goal of the competition and secure a 1-0 win for defending champions Egypt against a hard-working but uninspired Ghana side. His late strike was the one moment of class that lit up an otherwise uneventful final.

Ghana kicked off the 27th African Cup of Nations final as underdogs against an Egypt team aiming to make it three successive triumphs. Egypt striker Emad Motaeb shook off a hamstring strain to make the starting line-up ahead of super sub and tournament top scorer Geddo. Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson played despite an injury that prevented him from taking his own goal kicks.

It was a low key start to the game, with both teams taking a long time to settle, perhaps due to the pressure of the occasion. The first goalscoring opportunity came from a set piece in the eighth minute. Egypt defender Fathy body checked Asamoah to concede a free-kick 30m from goal, but Gyan’s shot hit the wall. Egypt ‘keeper El Hadary misjudged the resultant corner presenting Ghana with a half chance but they couldn’ t capitalise on his error. A long range effort from Ahmed Hassan in the 13th minute was Egypt’s first goal attempt but didn’t come close to troubling the goalkeeper. He tried again five minutes later but didn’t come much closer. Asamoah showed him how to hit the target with his own fiercely stuck shot from distance midway through the first half, but it was comfortably saved by El Hadary.

Chances were few and far between in the first half and neither goalkeeper was properly tested. Egypt enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and dictated most of the play but weren’t allowed to get close enough to the Ghanaian goal to cause any real trouble. The Black Stars occasionally looked dangerous on the break but didn’t often get enough men forward in support of their attacks. Nobody could argue with the goalless scoreline at the interval and everybody was hoping for a bit more action in the second half.

There were no changes during the break, but there was at least an eventful start to the second period with a flurry of yellow cards and a dangerous free-kick from Asamoah Gyan. Opoku was booked for a horrific challenge on Al-Muhamadi that could have earned him a straight red, Moawad saw yellow for a deliberate handball and then Al-Muhamadi was cautioned for a revenge challenge on Opoku, which gave Gyan the dead ball chance. His shot was tipped over the bar by El-Hahadary. After 55 minutes Shehata made his first move, replacing Moawad with Zamalek full-back Mohamed Abdel-Shafy. Hossam Ghaly soon made his way into the referee’s book for a shirt pull which resulted in yet another unsuccessful long-range free kick attempt for Ghana.

Ghana enjoyed their best spell of the game early in the second half, playing much more positively than at any time in the first period, and as a result the game began to open up a bit with the forwards finding more space in which to work at both ends of the field. Egypt’s passing began to bear fruit and they started to create openings in the Ghana defence. Hassan claimed a penalty for a push in the back,but the referee waved play on and Ghana continued to favour shooting from outside the box over trying to work a clearer opening. In the 70th minute Shehata played his trump card, bringing on Geddo for Motaeb in the hope that the Al-Ittihad striker could score off the bench for the fifth time in the tournament.

However, Ghana were getting more and more on top and they created three good chances in six minutes with Rennes striker Asamoah Gyan at the heart of all their mest moves. He curled a shot just wide of the far post in the 74th minute, hit another free-kick in the 79th, which El-Hadary clumisly punched away for a corner and then played in Inkoom down the right who sent an inviting cross across the Egypt goalmouth but nobody could connect in the middle. It was totally against the run of play when that man Geddo did it again; Mohamed Nagy “Geddo” picked up the ball on the left, played a neat one two with Zidan taking him inside the Ghana box where he curled a delicate finish past Kingson and just inside the far post to create jubilant scenes on the Egypt bench.

Bizarrely, Gyan was replaced as Ghana desperately chased the game in the last few minutes but despite their pressure they weren’t able to break down the resolute Egyptian defence and the Pharaohs were crowned champions of Africa for the seventh time.

African Cup of Nations 2010: Ghana – Egypt Preview

Kick-off: Thursday January 31, 16.00 GMT

Location: Estadio 11 de Novembro, Luanda

The final of the 2010 African Cup of Nations pits defending Champions and current favourites for this year’s title alongside underdogs Ghana, who have overcome injury and inexperience to make it through to the final. 

It’s been a fascinating African Cup of Nations tournament full of intrigue and shock with some big names falling by the wayside early on and the emergence of lesser nations into the competition.  The appearance of Egypt, going for a record third consecutive continental title and sixth overall, is no shock, and they will be overwhelmingly tipped to claim the victory in the final.  However, Ghana have shown that they should never be written off and after a difficult start to the tournament have emerged as strong contenders to end Egypt’s current dominance of Africa.

Flying Pharaohs

Hassan Shehata’s men have so far been the class of the competition, and whilst other big names have fallen around them, they have kept their nerve playing some fine football to reach the final.  It is due reward for an excellent collective performance, and once again goes to prove what a strong side Egypt are, something they gave sporadic glimpses of in 2009.  Their Confederations Cup win over Italy in South Africa gave a hint of their potential, but a failure to capitalise on their ability in key matches in World Cup qualifying cost them dear.  That left many wondering which side of Egypt would turn up in Angola and whether the disappointment of their failure would inspire or overwhelm them.

With that question in mind the canny Egypt manager Hassan Shehata, who has overseen this golden period in Egyptian football despite so far not being able to convert that into a World Cup berth, decided to fine tune the team and opted to take some of the fringe squad members.  Players such as Hossam Ghaly, formerly of Tottenham, were given a chance to show that they could be counted upon, whilst less experienced individuals, such as Geddo, were handed an opportunity to flourish in the spotlight.  Thus far, the policy has paid off handsomely, and the mixture of old-hands installed alongside some of the lesser known Egyptian national players has proved to be a winning combination.

Ahmed Hassan (r) was vital in the win against Cameroon for Egypt

A 1-0 goal deficit to Nigeria was rapidly overturned in the first pool match in Group C, and straight forward wins over Mozambique and Benin confirmed their place at the top of the table.  That set up a clash with Cameroon in the quarter-finals, and once again Egypt kept their cool after conceding the first goal to run out 3-1 winners.  The remarkable 4-0 win over Algeria in a repeat of that fateful World Cup play-off match certainly proved cathartic for the Egyptian nation as a whole and sets them up perfectly for the final.

Whilst other sides have struggled in Angola to find their attacking groove, a lack of goals has certainly not been an issue for Egypt.  The 14-goals so far are not only by far the most of any side at the 2010 African Cup of Nations, but represent a decent total in any competition of this structure.  When taking into consideration the fact they  have played their way past three of Africa’s five representatives at next summer’s World Cup, it is all the more remarkable.

The ability to come back from suffering the first goal in two of the pivotal matches at the tournament so far indicates that this Egyptian side have the required nerve to perform in high pressure scenarios, something that bodes well for the future, as well as this final.

Black (Young)-Stars come of age

The 2010 African Cup of Nations was supposed to be a question of looking to the future for Ghana as well.  After being forced to name a squad for the tournament that was missing several first team regulars through the spine of the team, Serb coach Milovan Rajevac went for a team built around the FIFA U-20 World Cup winning squad.  Ultimately seven of that successful side were called into the 23-man squad for Angola, and several have been vital in securing Ghana’s passage through to this stage.

Can Ghana striker Asamoah Gyan find one more goal at the AFCON 2010 to defeat Egypt?

This tournament was supposed to be a learning curve for this side, but with low initial expectations they have flourished.  The usually onerous burden of the weight of carrying a nation’s hope was further eased when they crashed to a 3-1 defeat to pre-tournament favourites the Ivory Coast in the first game.

That loss prompted many to write off this young Ghana side as too young and inexperienced to cope at full senior international level, and that whilst they could blossom against their peers, asking them to match and compete with experienced internationals was clearly one step too far. 

Nevertheless Ghana have fought back with three resilient performances resulting in successive 1-0 wins to initially claim second spot in Group B ahead of Burkina Faso.  They put in another gritty display in the 1-0 victory against the hosts Angola in the quarter-finals, before repeating the dose against Nigeria on Thursday in the semis. 

A clash of style

Whilst Egypt have been free flowing and attacking in Angola, the successive 1-0 victories goes to further highlight the fact that Ghana are rapidly becoming the first African team to be able to grind out ugly victories to further the overall progress.  Too often African sides have let themselves down with tactical indiscipline, but Ghana are showing that they can adhere to a pre-agreed set of instructions and carry them out for the entire duration of the game.

This final will therefore be a fascinating clash of two different approaches with the same aim: victory.  Indeed the game can be likened to the Euro 2004 final, which pitted the more flamboyant Portuguese team against the pragmatic approach of Greece.  It was the Greeks that triumphed on that day, and their victory serves to show that this match will be far from one-sided. 

Route to the final

Ghana

28/01/10 – Nigeria (n) 1-0 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Semi-Final)

24/01/10 – Angola (a) 0-1 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Quarter-Final)

19/01/10 – Burkina Faso (n) 1-0 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group B)

15/01/10 – Ivory Coast (n) 1-3 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group B)

Egypt

 28/01/10 – Algeria (n) 4-0 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Semi Final)

25/01/10 – Cameroon (n) 3-1 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Quarter-Final)

20/01/10 – Benin (n) 2-0 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group C)

16/01/10 – Mozambique (n) 2-0 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group C)

12/01/10 – Nigeria (n) 3-1 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group C)

Team News

Ghana

Having been able to name a relatively settled team to reach the finals, coach Milovan Rajevac will be forced into potentially several changes to accommodate injury picked up against Nigeria.  Goalkeeper Richard Kingson looked far from comfortable in goal, and could be a doubt.  Furthermore experienced full-back Hans Sarpei came off in the second half to compound the earlier departure of forward Opoku Ageymang.  Both have been vital in progress thus far, and it remains to be seen how fit they will be for the match against Egypt.

If either do miss the final, their replacements against Nigeria look set to start.  In the case of Sarpei that will be Ibrahima Ayew, whilst for Ageymang that will be Haminu Dramane, who started the tournament in the starting XI, and may get a chance to show what he can do in the final.

Egypt

In truth Egypt can consider themselves fortunate not to suffer more injuries in the semi-final to Algeria than they did.  The Fennecs totally lost their heads, and a number of rash challenges only yielded what appeared to be one semi-serious problem.  Emad Moateb came off after 51 minutes, and fans of Egypt will hoping that his withdrawal was no more than a precaution in a game that seemed as good as won, even from that point.  If the Al-Ahly forward isn’t fit, then tournament top-scorer Geddo, who has so far been used as a high-impact player from the bench, may get a chance to further extend his tally from the start. 

Players to Watch

Ghana

As in the previous games, the key to Ghana’s success seems to be in resilient defending.  Therefore the spine of the team through defence and midfield will be crucial, especially Isaac Vorsah and Ageymang Badu.  Up front Asamoah Gyan will have to take at least one chance, if the game is to go Ghana’s way.  So far the Rennes striker has been the model of striking efficiency, and he will need to be at his best to find a way through the Egyptian back-line.

Egypt

The Egyptian threat has so far come from all sorts of different angles, but they will have to ensure that they don’t become their own worst enemy by lapsing into complacency after their excellent performances so far coupled with their status as favourites for this game.  Essential to keeping the team in focus will be the experienced players in the team such as Wael Goma’a, Ahmed Hassan and Hosny. 

Prediction

There are a number of keys to the game.  One is the question of whether Egypt will be able to play their fast passing game in attack on this pitch.  This will be their first time in Luanda having played all their games outside the Angolan capital.  The turf at the stadium is in shocking condition, and Ghana have already played two games on it, so know what to expect.  Egypt will not have the luxury of acclimatisation pre-match, so will need to get to grips with the unstable and rutted surface quickly during the game.

Both sides love to push their full-backs on, and they may be left to dispute the flanks of the game, meaning that the middle of the pitch could become very congested.  The side that can move the ball quickest into attacking areas, may be the one that comes out on top.

Egypt are probably the superior of the two teams technically, but may find it takes a while to find their passing range, so Ghana may take the lead.  Nevertheless Egypt have shown they have the resolve and mettle to bounce back, so should confirm their record sixth title and third in a row by the end of the game.

Ghana 1-2 Egypt

2010 African Cup of Nations: Algeria 0-4 Egypt

Wednesday January 28
Complexo da Sr. Graca, Benguela, Angola
28c, humid

Algeria 0: Halliche sent off (38), Belhadj s/o (69), Chaouchi s/o (86)
Egypt 4: Hosni (pen 39), Zidan (65), Abdel-Shafy (79), Gedo (94)

TEAMS

Algeria: Chaouchi, Belhadj, Halliche, Bougherra, Yahia, Yebda, Ziani, Meghni (Laifaoui 67), Mansouri, Matmour (Abdoun 75), Ghezzal (Zemmamouche 88)

Egypt: El Hadary, Al-Muhamadi, Goma’a, Fathallah (Nagy Gedo 59), Moawad (Abdel-Shafy 79), Fathy, Hassan, Hosni, Said, Zidan, Motaeb (Ghaly 50)

Egypt gained revenge over Algeria for their World Cup qualification play-off defeat with a crushing 4-0 victory in an eventful game in Benguela. The evening almost descended into farce as the Algerians finished the game with only eight players on the park as they lost their cool in frustration at the scoreline and some controversial refereeing decisions.

The first half got off to a slow start, with neither team wanting to take any risks early on. It was a tight and cagey affair; chances were few and far between and neither team seemed able or willing to take the initiative. After twenty minutes, possession of the ball had been split fifty-fifty and neither goal had been seriously threatened. A good move by Egypt conjured the first real chance of the game, midway through the first half when Zidan latched on to a through ball and squared it for Motaeb on the edge of the box. However, the Al-Ahly striker’s curling shot was well saved by Chaouchi in the Algerian goal.

The main talking points of the first 45 minutes all occurred in the final ten, beginning with a dreadful mistake by Algeria defender Rafik Halliche. He attempted to cut out a long ball forward but miscued it horribly sending Motaeb through on goal. Halliche gave chase in a desperate attempt to make amends and gained enough ground on the striker to make a challenge inside his own penalty area but failed to connect with the ball and conceded a penalty, for which he was eventually awarded a second yellow card. Frankly it could easily have been a straight red seeing as Motaeb was through on goal, but given that the official elected to show yellow, the sending off can be seen as harsh because Halliche’s first booking was a joke. He was penalised simply for jumping near the Egypt goalkeeper.

The penalty itself was no less controversial. Hosni paused in his run up just before striking the ball past Chaouchi to make it 1-0 and angry scenes ensued with the Algerian ‘keeper protesting vehemently to the referee. Indeed, he appeared to try and headbutt the official and had to be pushed away by team mates, escaping with only a booking. When everyone finally calmed down, the Algerians were able to reorganise their defence and see out the remaining few minutes until half time.

Egypt began to make their numerical advantage tell early in the second half as they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and started to create openings. They suffered a small setback when Motaeb limped off in the 50th minute to be replaced by Hossam Ghaly and they lost a bit of momentum as a result. Algeria’s best hope of getting back into the game seemed to be from a set piece and they duly got one on the edge of the box down their left flank in the 61st minute. Yebda fired a powerful shot towards the top left corner of the Egypt goal but El Hadary was equal to it.

Moments later, Egypt doubled their advantage with a fine solo goal from Mohamed Zidan. The Borussia Dortmund striker turned a couple of defenders inside out before curling a shot into the net from the edge of the box. Any remaining Algerian hopes were all but extinguished in the 69th minute when defender Nadir Belhadj was rightly sent off for a shocking and dangerous tackle on Al Muhammadi. From then on the Egyptians had the time and space to toy with their tired opponents and make them chase the ball around the midfield areas. It was becoming a question of how many more could they score as they looked to gain revenge for their World Cup exit.

Hassan had a good chance to get the third before it finally came in the 79th minute following more good work by Zidan, who slipped the ball through to substitute Abdel-Shafy,who scored with his first touch from a tight angle. There was time for yet more drama in the 86th minute when Algeria received their third red card, this time for goalkeeper Faouzi Chaouchi, who took a clumsy kick at Gedo when the game had already been stopped for offside. Egypt added a scrappy fourth through Gedo in the last minute of injury time to wrap things up. They will be savouring a memorable victory and looking forward to Sunday’s final. Algeria will be worrying about how many World Cup games their three red card recipients may miss through suspensions.

African Cup of Nations 2010: Egypt – Algeria Preview

Can Egypt coach Hassan Shehata guide his team to the final at AFCON 2010?

Kick-off: Wednesday January 28 19.30 GMT

Location: Complexo da Sr. Graca, Benguela

The second semi-final at the 2010 African Cup of Nations has all the trappings of a classic revenge match, as North African rivals Algeria and Egypt go head-to-head for a place in the final.

After the loss of hosts Angola at the quarter-final stage of the 2010 African Cup of Nations, the organisers couldn’t have asked for a better semi-final than Egypt against Algeria.  Having been paired together in the qualifying section, Algeria pipped Egypt for a place at the World Cup thanks to a play-off held in controversial circumstances.  That game followed the previous one held in Cairo between the pair when attacks on the Algerian bus had left some of the team injured and shocked.  With all three games having been played in an intense and hostile atmosphere, the chance to have it out at the other end of the continent in a neutral country will be the ultimate way to find out which side is currently the strongest.

Payback

This match will therefore be seen in cathartic light for Egypt; a chance for them to partially put right what they feel went wrong in that play-off game against Algeria held in Sudan last October.  There, despite seeing more of the ball, they struggled to break down the well-drilled Algerian defence, who held firm before snatching a goal via the head of Antar Yahia.  The Fennecs proceeded to defend deep and in numbers, and book their place at South Africa at the expense of Egypt.

However, whilst the question of revenge over Algeria will obviously be played up in the media, it should be noted that several key members of that Egyptian squad from 2009 aren’t involved in Angola for the 2010 African Cup of Nations.  Therefore whilst there will be a sense of general payback for Algeria, there potentially won’t be that strong sense of revenge that many of the players individually might have felt.

Nevertheless there is a history of bad blood in a sporting sense between Egypt and Algeria, which stretches back historically several decades.  Matches between the two teams on a football pitch have often had an important back drop, such as the games in 1989, which went the way of Egypt as they grabbed a spot at the World Cup in 1990 at the expense of Algeria.

There is plenty at stake on this match in terms of the tournament too.  Egypt are looking to extend their run of consecutive victories at the African Cup of Nations to a record-breaking three, and six overall, which would also surpass the current mark. 

Proving themselves

Algeria would love to be the team to once again spoil Egypt’s party like they did last year.  Then Egypt looked odds on to claim a spot in South Africa and return to the country where they performed so well at the 2009 Confederations Cup.  However, Algeria after equalling Egypt in terms of points, goals scored and the head-to-head record (away goals not being taken into account in those matches), managed to stifle Egypt’s creativity in that play-off. 

Could Karim Ziani inspire Algeria against Egypt?

Uppermost in Algeria’s minds will be once again proving that they deserve to be in this position.  They arrived at the quarter-final stage via what some might describe as under-hand tactics after submitting to a 0-0 draw in their final game against Angola in Group A to sneak through ahead of Mali.  However, against the Ivory Coast they proved they were worthy of a place in the last-8 by earning the victory in extra-time, and even getting round to playing a bit of football in the 120 minutes against the Elephants.

They will be out to prove themselves once again, when they take on Egypt in this match and show the watching world that their place at the FIFA World, Cup later this year is justified.  There can be no better way of doing that then by replicating what they did against the Ivory Coast – actually going out to attack rather than just sitting back and defending, something they’ve done rather too much for many people’s liking.

The Fennecs will need to be at their best against Egypt, who have so far looked the class of the tournament.  Whilst several of the bigger sides have already been eliminated or struggled through to this phase, Egypt have been confident and composed coming from behind in both of their critical matches to win.  That makes the Pharaohs the only unbeaten team left in the competition, and formidable opponents for Algeria to prove their mettle against.

Team Form

Egypt

25/01/10 – Cameroon (n) 3-1 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Quarter-Final)

16/01/10 – Mozambique (n) 2-0 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group B)

12/01/10 – Nigeria (n) 3-1 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group B)

04/01 /10 – Mali (n) 1-0 (International Friendly)

29/12/09 – Malawi (h) 1-1 (International Friendly)

Algeria

26/01/10 – Ivory Coast (n) 3-2 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Quarter-Final)

18/01/10 – Angola (a) 0-0 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group A)

14/01/10 – Mali (n) 1-0 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group A)

11/01/10 – Malawi (n) 0-3 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group A)

18/11/09 – Egypt (n) 1-0 (2010 FIFA World Cup Play-off)

Team News

Egypt

 So far Egyptian coach Hassan Shehata hasn’t been unduly troubled by either injuries or suspensions, but may opt to make a few tactical changes for this game in light of the match against Cameroon and their failure against Algeria.  Striker Mohamed Zidan was poor against Cameroon, and his replacement Geddo sparked something of a revival in the Egyptian ranks.  Geddo, now a target for Premiership side Fulham, may well get his chance to start from the outset in place of Zidan as reward for his good work on Monday. 

Egypt also need to show that they have what it takes in the middle of the pitch to compete against Algeria, an area that probably cost them last time around.  Attacking midfielder Ahmed Hassan had an interesting game against Cameroon scoring an own goal as well the equaliser, but at 36 may find that this match comes too soon.  He may be given a break in favour of a more defensively minded player, who can match up against Algeria in what is bound to be a tightly contested part of the pitch.

Algeria

Several players are thought to be carrying minor knocks, including Mourad Meghni, who started against the Ivory Coast.  If the Lazio midfielder isn’t fit, then Blackpool’s Hameur Bouazza may get the chance to show he has what it takes to influence the game from kick-off after scoring as a substitute in the quarter-final.

Overall Algerian coach Rabah Saadane is unlikely to make too many changes to the team that has so far proved stubborn and resilient opposition at the 2010 African Cup of Nations.  Having knocked out the favourites on Sunday in the shape of the Ivory Coast, he will probably keep faith with the same starting XI.

Players to Watch

Egypt

Midfield is going to be inevitably where the match is won and lost, so Hany Said and Ahmed Fathy are both going to have key-roles in helping their team control the game in an area of the pitch they are likely to be outnumbered.  If they can get enough of the ball to their creative players, then Egypt could be remain on course for more continental dominance by winning against Algeria.

Algeria

The Fennecs have proved they are nobody’s fools in Angola, despite their stuttering start against Malawi in their first group game.  Midfielder Karim Ziani has developed into the tournament, but the more defensively minded Antar Yahia will have an equally important role to fulfil by breaking up Egyptian attacks.  Additionally the Bochum-player has a handy knack of scoring important goals, as evidenced by his winner against Egypt in that play-off.

Prediction

This match is monumental for both teams, and given the importance, not only in the context of this tournament but also in a wider sense, is likely to have a cautious feel to it.  I would anticipate this game to be decided by one goal, and for it to follow a very similar pattern to the play-off in Sudan, which centred on a lot of effort, but not much quality.  Indeed with goal scoring at a premium, it may go all the way to penalties.

Egypt 0-0 Algeria

African Cup of Nations 2010: Egypt 3-1Cameroon – Defensive errors dominate as Egypt ease through in extra-time

 
 

Veteran Ahmed Hassan was the match winner for Egypt against Cameroon

Kick-off: Monday, January 25th, 16.00 GMT

Location: Complexo da Sr. Da Graca, Benguela, Angola

Egypt: 3 A Hassan (37 & 95), Geddo (92)

Cameroon: 1 A Hasan (og, 26)

TEAMS

Egypt: El Hadary – Mohamady, Goma’a, Fathalla, Moawad – A Hassan, Fathi, Said, Hosni – Zidan, Moateb

Cameroon: Kameni – Geremi, N’Koulou, Chedjou, Bedimo – Song, Mandjeck, Eyong – Emana, Eto’o, Idrissou

The third quarter-final at the 2010 African Cup of Nations pitted Group C winners Egypt against Group D runners-up Cameroon in a repeat of the final from two years ago in which the Pharaohs’ ran out 1-0 winners. 

It was a game that ebbed and flowed, and both sides had their chances to claim the spoils both within normal time and extra-time.  However, it was defensive errors that ruled the game and decisively altered the outcome of the game, with those from Cameroon proving more costly at the start of extra-time.

Egypt having cruised through qualification had rested numerous players in their final group match against Benin and made several changes to that starting XI.  Cameroon had gone through all sorts of agonies to get to this stage, but the team that took to the pitch was similar to the one that claimed a draw against Tunisia in their final match, although still posted three amendments. 

A cagey start to the game with neither side too eager to attack in the early stages saw Cameroon force a sequence of corners, which eventually resulted in a long-range effort from recent Newcastle departure Geremi.  The right-back collected the ball, but despite catching the effort on the full with his left-foot the attempt looped over the Egyptian goal. 

It took Egypt until past the halfway point of the first-half to register a noteworthy attempt on goal.  Mohamed Zidan curled a good free-kick into the Cameroon box, and with the Indomitable Lions back-line rooted to the spot left-back, Ahmed Al-Mohamady dived onto the header.  However, Cameroon were given a huge let-off when he diverted the effort wide of the target.

Moments later and Cameroon made Egypt doubly rue their missed chance when they took the lead in most bizarre fashion.  Achille Emana, who had taken a number of short in-swinging corners from the Cameroon left side, dropped one onto Ahmed Hassan’s head at the near post.  The veteran Egyptian playmaker somehow managed to deflect the ball off the back of his head and into his own net to give Cameroon the advantage with 25 minutes played.

Egypt take control

The defending champions of the African Cup of Nations had an almost immediate reply to the Cameroon goal.  A poor tackle by Samuel Eto’o, which should have been punished with at least a booking, was taken quickly on the halfway line by Egypt.  Forward Emad Moateb reached quickest to the pass through, nicking it round Cameroon goalkeeper Carlos Kameni, but was unable to steady himself for the shot thanks to the pressure from Alexandre Song.

On 35 minutes veteran Egyptian midfielder Ahmed Hassan in his 170th appearance in the national shirt found redemption for his own goal ten minutes earlier with a long-range speculative effort from at least 35 yards out to equalise.  Hassan let fly with a diagonal shot that seemed to deceive Kameni in the Cameroon goal.  The Espanyol-keeper just didn’t get across his line quick enough to stop the effort, and somehow the ball sneaked past him and in at the far post to make it 1-1.

The second half could have started brilliantly for Egypt but Moateb wasted a good chance chance.  What amounted to little more than a hopeful punt down the middle from goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary was seized upon by Moateb when Cameroon defender Aurelien Chedjou almost fatally let the ball bounce.  Moateb was onto the loose ball in a flash, but a combination of Kameni and Chedjou managed to smother the chance.

A minute later and Zidan could have snatched the lead twice within two minutes for Egypt.  First he picked up a pass down the left-hand channel and took the shot early which missed the goal at the near post when he could have advanced further before taking aim.  Then just seconds later the Borussia Dortmund-forward dispossessed Chedjou just outside the Cameroon penalty area.  Fortunately for Cameroon, Kameni was alert to the danger and managed to block the shot at his near post.

Cameroon find their feet

For all the early Egyptian pressure in the first ten minutes of the second half, Cameroon also could have retaken the lead on 55 minutes.  A run from midfielder Georges Mandjeck was not tracked by Egypt, and the Kaiserslautern player sent a low spinning shot narrowly wide of the near post.

Just before the hour mark Eyong Enoh had another good sight of the Egyptian target from midfield when he picked up the ball in space through the middle.  The Ajax-midfielder lashed another effort just over the target, as Cameroon started to come out of their shell after weathering something of an Egyptian barrage in the opening minutes of the second half. 

Cameroon continued to test El-Hadary in the Egyptian goal from long range when Geremi side footed a powerful free-kick into his arms on the 70 minute-mark.  On 78 minutes Cameroon danger-man Samuel Eto’o had his first shot on target in anger, again from outside the penalty area.  The Inter Milan-striker lashed an effort towards goal, which bounced up into El-Hadary’s body for a comfortable save. 

It was all one-way traffic for Cameroon, and Samuel Eto’o once again tested his luck from long range.  Mohammadou Idrissou advanced down the left flank before cutting it back for Eto’o, however, the former Barcelona-man lashed an effort over the bar. 

Despite looking like it was going to be Cameroon to claim a late winner, Egypt showed they took still possessed a threat when a raking diagonal pass found Moateb through the left-hand channel.  However Cameroon had a huge let off, when the Egyptian forward could only find the side-netting with a shot at the near post, when arguably he should have gone across the goal with his attempt.

Ahmed Hassan could have been a late match winner for Egypt too, when he had a speculative effort which flew over the Cameroonian goal with two minutes already played in additional time but that was to be the final action in normal time and the game went to extra-time.

Egypt explode in extra-time

Having finished the second half in the ascendancy Cameroon started extra-time brightly when substitute Pierre Webo drove a shot in, which was comfortably claimed.  However, it was Egypt who snatched the lead in the game with barely a minute played following the restart.  Geremi played a suicidal back-pass towards Kameni, which he left horribly short, and midfielder Geddo nipped in to pinch the ball and slot it home between the goalkeeper’s legs to make it 2-1.

Egypt had their third and Ahmed Hassan his second goal just moments later in controversial circumstances for 3-1.  Hassan smashed in a free-kick from the Egyptian left, which Kameni in the Cameroon goal crucially attempted to punch.  The ball reared up, cannoned off the underside of the bar and bounced down.  Replays showed the ball wasn’t even close to going over the line, but the goal stood after the assistant on the nearside gave it as a goal.

Whilst Cameroon will feel hard done by given the fact that the third goal should never have stood, both Egyptian efforts in extra-time could ultimately be put down to shocking defensive errors on the part of the Indomitable Lions.

Samuel Eto’o nearly went close to reducing arrears on 98 minutes when a corner-kick from the left, which was from the same side from which they had scored in the first half, just evaded the outstretched boot of the Cameroon forward.

Cameroon started to press with increasing desperation, and an Idrissou shot was deflected inches wide of the post.  However, their task was made immeasurably harder when a long clearing punt was missed by Cameroon defender Chedjou.  The Lens-player suddenly realising that Geddo had got in front of him to win the ball clean through on goal, decided to drag the Egyptian striker down, and inevitably saw a red card for his transgression. 

The reduction to ten-men cost Cameroon any further chance of troubling Egypt, and it finished 3-1.  Cameroon have arguably not got into their stride for the entire tournament, although they improved as it wore on, and this was denfitely their best performance out of the four games. 

Egypt can thank a lucky decision for a crucial third to give them a two-goal cushion and turn the game their way after absorbing a lot of pressure.  They are through to the semis and the dream of three consecutive victories at the African Cup of Nations remains alive.

African Cup of Nations 2010: Benin – Egypt Preview

Egyptian fans have had plenty to smile about at AFCON 2010, so far...

 Kick-off: Wednesday January 20 16.00 GMT

Location: Complexo da Sr. Graca, Benguela

Benin have the chance to join their opponents Egypt in the knock-out stages for the 2010 African Cup of Nations if they can beat the Pharaohs and hope that Mozambique do them a favour against Nigeria in the other Group C game.

There are certainly a myriad of permutations for progression in Group C, but one thing is for certain; after winning their first two games Egypt have already assured themselves of passage through to the quarter-finals.  The defending African champions will not necessarily be inclined to take it easy on Benin though, as they look to maintain their excellent start to the defence of their title.

Onus on restricted Benin

The main focus of this game will be on Benin, who have been one of most surprising teams at the 2010 African Cup of Nations catching the eye with their willingness to get forward and attack.  At times in their first two games their forward play has been bristling with energy and enthusiasm. 

They could consider themselves especially unfortunate to have got nothing from the clash with Nigeria on Saturday.  Having hit the frame of the goal twice, they were left to curse their lack of good luck in front of goal, when Nigeria claimed the victory thanks to a penalty.

However, whilst they have been a pleasure to watch going forward, their defending at times has been somewhat inept, and their failure to keep Mozambique at bay in the first game, which resulted in a 2-2 draw, and the subsequent defeat to Nigeria leaves them on just one point in Group C, when they could have been on four.

The equation is simple from Benin’s perspective, they need to go out and win their game against Egypt, regardless of what happens in the other game.  However they will need to do it though without their most creative influence from midfield Stephane Sessegnon.  The PSG-schemer saw yellow in the games against Nigeria and Mozambique, so has to sit out the final crucial game for Benin.

Egyptian cruise or curse?

Hassan Shehata and the Egyptian management team find themselves in the enviable position of being able to rest one or two players in preparation for the knock-out stages, which begin next weekend.  There isn’t even the additional incentive of winning the group as that has been tied up with a game to spare.  That will mean a break of potentially eight days for key-men such as Mohamed Zidan and Emad Moateb.

However, it is a fine balance between resting players and tempting defeat and keeping up the good run but risking injury and fatigue later in the tournament.  The most recent precedent comes from Euro 2008, when after winning their first two matches, the Dutch put out the reserve side for their final match against Romania.  They won it comfortably, but the loss of rhythm amongst the starting XI was crucial against Russia in the quarter-finals, although it has to be said wasn’t the only factor behind that loss.

Therefore it will be a difficult call to make for Shehata.  If Egypt do opt for a less than first-choice team, it will be fascinating to see how the reserves get on, and whether they can put pressure on their colleagues for a starting place in the quarter-finals. Furthermore not having to win the game will Egypt throw off the shackles and really attack, or will the lack of importance in terms of the outcome of the tournament dull the Egyptian edge.   

So far Egypt have responded magnificently to the setbacks that have come their way which include a less than first choice squad for the tournament and the disappointment of missing out to Algeria for the World Cup ticket.  Regardless of the Egyptian approach, Benin’s best option may be to attack, so this promises to be a match full of interest and intrigue.

Requirement to Progress

Benin

The simple part is that Benin have to win their game to stand any chance of making it through.  It gets more complicated in that they also have to hope that Mozambique beat Nigeria by the same or less margin.  That would move Benin and Mozambique on to four points, but would give Benin the edge on goal difference.  Another more complicated scenario involves Mozambique winning by a margin of one more than Benin, but conceding more, thus still giving Benin the edge.  Beyond that it would take the respective disciplinary records or the drawing of lots to separate them.

Egypt

Don’t have to do anything except turn up.  They are already guaranteed first position in the group regardless of the outcome of the match against Benin and the other game.  Even if Nigeria won and Egypt lost, they would both be on six points, but Egypt would rank ahead thanks to their 3-1 win over the Super Eagles on Match-Day 1.

Team Form

Egypt

 16/01/10 – Mozambique (n) 2-0 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group B)

12/01/10 – Nigeria (n) 3-1 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group B)

04/01 /10 – Mali (n) 1-0 (International Friendly)

29/12/09 – Malawi (h) 1-1 (International Friendly)

18/11/09 – Algeria (n) 0-1 (FIFA World Cup Qualifying Play-off)

Benin

16/01/10 – Nigeria (n) 0-1 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group B)

12/01/10 – Mozambique (n) 2-2 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group B)

06/01/10 – Libya (h) 1-0 – International Friendly

14/11/09 – Sudan (a) 1-2 – FIFA World Cup Qualifier

11/10/09 – Cameroon (h) 1-0 – FIFA World Cup Qualifier

Team News

Benin

The main loss will be Stephane Sessegnon, the undeniable star for the Squirrels.  The PSG midfielder picked up two yellow cards in his first two games, so is forced to sit out this crucial encounter.  Benin could certainly have done with him in the side, as his thoughtful prompting has been a feature of their play so far.  Manager Michel Dusseyer may consider a change in formation to try and cope with his absence, and Moroccan-based winger Pascal Angan may get his chance to shine against Egypt.

Egypt

The Egyptian management team have a wealth of options open to them ranging from sticking with the team that played in the first two games to totally altering things for this fixture.  In the event, coach Hassan Shehata may decide to give his European based players a rest such as Mohamed Zidan, but stick with the locally based players. 

Player to Watch

Benin

Metz-based forward Razak Omotoyossi has been one of the surprise players of the 2010 African Cup of Nations.  With lightening speed and reactions, as well as an eye for goal he looked a handful in both games for Benin so far in the competition.  With Sessegnon out, Benin will be relying on their centre-forward to be the main danger to Egypt’s defence.

Egypt

Former Spurs player Hossam Ghaly may have a point to prove after starting the first game against Nigeria, only to find himself on the bench for the following match against Mozambique.  Having featured only sporadically in the last 18-months for the senior Egyptian side, the 2010 African Cup of Nations and this match in particular may be his last chance to show Hassan Shehata he has what it takes to be considered good enough for regular inclusion in a strong midfield.

Prediction

Although the Egyptian management will be desperate to keep the squad on their toes, some slacking off is almost inevitable given the comfortable position they find themselves in.  Therefore a Benin result isn’t as unlikely as it might have been under different circumstances.  Whether the other match will also go Benin’s way remains open to debate, but a high-scoring and entertaining match could well be in prospect.

Benin 3-2 Egypt

2010 African Cup of Nations: Egypt 2-0 Mozambique

16th January 2010, Benguela

Egypt 2: Khan o.g. (47), Nagy Gedo (81)
Mozambique 0

TEAMS

Egypt: El Hadany, Moawad, Fathallah, Goma’a, Fathy, Said (Al-Muhamadi 48), Hosni, Hassan, Adbelrazek (Nagy Gedo 68), Moteab, Zidan (Malek 58)
Mozambique: Kapango, Paito, Mexer, Khan, Campira Samuel, Simao, Lobo, Genito (Parruque 87), Pelembe, Goncalves Fumo (Josemar 52), Tico-Tico (Hagy 68)

Egypt sealed their qualification for the quarter finals with their second win in as many Group C games and a draw in their final game against Benin will now guarantee them top spot. Mozambique started brightly and made the Egyptians work hard for their three points but in the end the gulf in class was just too wide for them to bridge.

Mozambique had their chances to get on the scoresheet, especially int he first half when Fumo twice fired in dangerous shots and Mexer went close with a free kick. The Egyptians also threatened but failed to find the net before the interval with Shikabala wasting two good chances and Zidan producing a fine save from Kampango.

The breakthrough came just after half time when the unfortunate Mozambique defender Dario Khan put the ball into his own net following a cross from Fathi. It was his second own goal in as many games at the African Cup of Nations. The Egyptians were largely on top from then on as their opponents began to tire although Mozambique did have a goal ruled out for offside in the 58th minute.

The coup de grace came ten minutes from full time when Egypt sealed the victory with a fantastic volley from substitute Nagy Gedo, his second goal of the tournament and there was no way back for Mozambique. Egypt will now be able to rotate their squad in their final Group C game but they could still do Mozambique a favour by beating Benin. Then, if Mozambique can win their last match against Nigeria, they will also qualify for the knockout stage.

African Cup of Nations 2010: Egypt – Mozambique Preview

 

A win against Mozambique will keep these demanding fans happy...

Kick-off: Saturday January 16, 18.30 GMT

Location: Complexo da Sr. Graca, Benguela

Egypt have the chance to wrap up qualification to the knock-out stages with a win over little-fancied Mozambique.  However, the minnows from East Africa showed against Benin they are no push-overs.

An excellent first match-day win in Group C for Egypt against Nigeria, indicated that they are certainly not taking the 2010 African Cup of Nations lightly despite having to name a weakened squad due to injury.  Many questioned Egypt’s will to perform in Angola after losing out to Algeria in that infamous play-off, but if anything that disappointment seems to have sharpened the collective Egyptian appetite.  Furthermore the obvious incentive of becoming the record winners of the tournament with six titles to their name and becoming the first ever side to win the trophy three times in a row has also clearly helped to inspire Egypt thus far.

Best foot forward

Things didn’t start smoothly for the Pharaohs against Nigeria last Tuesday after conceding an 11th minute opener to Chinedu Obasi of Hoffenheim.  However, Hassan Shehata’s men quickly found their rhythm and instrumental to the improvement was Al-Ahly forward Emad Moateb.  His thoughtful probing down the channels of the Nigerian defence seemed to cause the Super Eagles immense problems, and Egypt will be hoping that he can once again trouble Mozambique’s defence.

Egypt at times did struggle to contain the Nigerian attack, especially when left-back Taye Taiwo got forward.  However, in the immediate aftermath of taking the lead in the 55th minute, Hassan Shehata swapped midfielder Hossam Ghaly for the more defensively minded Ahmed Al-Muhammadi, and this seemed to help quell the threat. 

Indeed as the game wore on Nigeria struggled to create significant goal-scoring chances, and Egypt may have been a little taken aback by the relatively comfortable nature of their 3-1 victory, which thanks to the draw in the other match, puts them in the commanding position they currently enjoy.

Over-awed

Mozambique, a little like Egypt, took a while to get into their stride at the 2010 African Cup of Nations, and looked very nervous in the opening 30 minutes or so of their match against Benin.  That slow start could have cost them the chance of recording their first ever win at the tournament, as they found themselves looking at a two-goal deficit before they sorted themselves out. 

However, Mozambique were arguably the better of the two teams in the remaining 60 minutes of the game and drew level thanks to goals from Miro and Fumo.  Although Benin created a few chances with the score at 2-2 in the latter stages of the second half, Mozambique will probably have been the happier of the two teams.

Whilst the best chance to take their first ever win at the tournament has probably passed for Mozambique, the matches so far at the 2010 African Cup of Nations have shown that the smaller sides can cause the supposedly stronger nations some problems.  However, a key factor in each of the shock results has been a good sense of organisation within the defensive ranks.

Against Benin this wasn’t the case for Mozambique, and some rather leery defending was the inevitable outcome.  Prior to the match against Egypt, the Mozambique management led by Dutchman Maart Nooij will need to work on the communication between the back-four and the goalkeeper, as well as the distribution forward to the like of Simao Junior in the midfield.

If Mozambique produce another nervous performance in defence similar to the one against Benin for the first half an hour, then Egypt could well rack up a commanding lead in a relatively short space of time. Mozambique will also need to keep hold of the ball better in comparison to the performance against Benin, as if they gift Egypt too much possession they will find the match a very long and arduous one. 

Team Form

Egypt

12/01/10 – Nigeria (n) 3-1 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group C)

04/01 /10 – Mali (n) 1-0 (International Friendly)

29/12/09 – Malawi (h) 1-1 (International Friendly)

18/11/09 – Algeria (n) 0-1 (FIFA World Cup Qualifying Play-off)

14/11/09 – Algeria (h) 2-0 (FIFA World Cup Qualifying)

Mozambique

12/01/10 – Benin (n) 2-2 (2010 African Cup of Nations, Group C)

06/01/10 – Gabon (n) 0-2 defeat – International Friendly

28/12/09 – Zambia (n) 1-0 win – International Friendly

19/12/09 – Malawi (h) 0-1 International Friendly

31/10/09 – South Africa (n) 1-0 win – COSAFA Cup 3rd/4th Place play-off

Team News

Egypt

The Pharaohs came through their opening match-day win against Nigeria unscathed, so have a full squad of 23 to choose from.  Following such an excellent performance it would be a surprise to see Hassan Shehata make too many changes to his starting line-up.  However, Hossam Ghaly was disappointing played in an unaccustomed wide role and may make way for a more natural attacking player such as Mohamed Nagy.

Mozambique

Maart Nooij, Mozambique coach, served notice of his intention to attack Benin by starting with both Dario and Tico-Tico up front as a pair.  However, after the defensive frailties displayed by his side, he may opt to give the older Tico-Tico a rest and use Pelembe as a link-man between midfield and attack.  That would give Mozambique the chance to draft in a more defensively minded midfielder such as Egyptian based Mano or Genito to help stiffen up the back-line.

Players to Watch

Egypt

After catching the eye against Nigeria, Emad Moateb could once again be the catalyst for success from Egypt’s perspective.  Given licence to drift across the front-line, Moateb will be looking forward to facing Mozambique, who at times left some significant space between their defence and midfield. 

Mozambique

Simao Junior helped keep Benin’s star performer Stephane Sessegnon relatively subdued in the first game, and will once again need to be at his best if Mozambique are to have any joy against the better fancied Egyptians.

Prediction

With so many defensive flaws evident against Benin, it’s hard to see how Mozambique can improve significantly in the relatively short space of time between that game and this match.  Egypt looked really exciting going forward through both Zidan and Moateb against Nigeria and the pair should find they have a profitable time of it against the Mozambique defence.  The only thing that may prevent a significant score being racked up is if Egypt take it easy after establishing a lead in anticipation of stiffer tests ahead in the knock-out stages.

Egypt 3-0 Mozambique

2010 African Cup of Nations: Former Spurs midfielder Ghaly flounders for Egypt

Ghaly in action for Tottenham

Former Tottenham Hotspur and Derby County midfielder Hossam Ghaly may have left England under something of cloud 12-months ago, but his stock is still at rock-bottom amongst the faithful at White Hart Lane.  Aboutaball.co.uk looks at his impact for Egypt in the opening game of the 2010 African Cup of Nations for his country Egypt.

There are players that just seem to rub their team-mates up the wrong way.  Recent examples include Lee Bowyer and Roy Keane, who just seemed to get on the nerves of people of people around them.  Unfortunately for Hossam Ghaly, he falls into this category.  Whilst the abrasiveness of Keane could be tolerated thanks to his outstanding contribution to the Man Utd midfield, and Bowyer has evidently mellowed in his later years at Birmingham City, the same can’t be said of Hossam Ghaly.

The former Feyenoord midfielder arrived at Spurs in January 2006 after the Rotterdam-based club couldn’t get rid of him quick enough.  Two-and-a-half troubled seasons in the Eredivisie had shown his flawed character with bust ups with technical staff and fallings out with his team-mates over their perceived inability to match his own skills.

A strong start to his time at Spurs soon went off track after an angry reaction to being subbed against Blackburn Rovers, when he threw his shirt to the ground provoking ire from the fans.  A loan spell at Derby County suggested a spell out of the spotlight of the Premiership might be just the thing to get Ghaly refocused, but he insisted on returning to the top-flight following the end of his time in the Championship.

Birmingham City backed out of a move in summer 2008 despite agreeing terms, but perceived criticism regarding his team-mates and the standard of training facilities saw the deal fall through, and Ghaly returned to Spurs.  The curtain fell on Ghaly’s time in England when upon sensing that Ghaly was about to be brought on in an FA Cup tie against Wigan last January by then new-boss Harry Redknapp, the fans started booing, and Redknapp quickly changed his mind, and Ghaly was soon on his way to pastures new in Saudi Arabia.

Improving fortunes

It would seem that the move to Al-Nassr has worked out well for Ghaly, and his improvement in recent form was rewarded with a call-up to the Egyptian national team for the 2010 African Cup of Nations.  His return to the national fold was the first time that Ghaly had been involved with the full senior side since leaving London some 12 months ago, but on the evidence of the 55 minutes or so he got in Egypt’s 3-1 win over Nigeria, it might be his last for some time.

Whilst there were no tantrums after learning of his replacement, his input into the team was negligible.  In Ghaly’s defence it must be pointed out that he spent of the match in Angola swapping flanks rather than being given a position in the centre of the pitch, which is certainly is preferred role.

However, the Nigeria goal, the opening strike of the match, came from the side that Ghaly was supposed to be defending, with Chinedu Obasi cutting in from the right flank to fire the Super Eagles into an early lead.  Ghaly has never excelled at tackling during his career, but has also never been a good enough ball-player in his own right to warrant regular inclusion as a creative midfielder, and it was clearly evident against Nigeria.

Furthermore Nigeria had their best spell of the match when Ghaly was put back on the right side when he failed to stop Taye Taiwo getting forward.  The Marseille left-back was a one-time Spurs target if the rumour mill is to be believed and fancies himself as something of a Roberto Carlos replica.  Taiwo got forward on several occasions and Ghaly, who should have been the first player to press him, failed to ever get close .  Ghaly’s replacement, a more natural defender, immediately surpressed Taiwo, and his input into the game dwindled noticeably from that point onwards.

Going forward, Ghaly failed to exploit the obvious gap being left in behind the Nigerian defence by Taiwo, who often gets caught out when his side aren’t in possession.  Much of Egypt’s best play came down their right flank, but none of it involved Ghaly, who each time the Pharaohs built down that flank was found loitering on the opposite side failing to influence play. 

Whilst Ghaly isn’t the sort of quick player who is going to get a decent cross in from the by-line, he failed to spot the opportunity to tuck in slightly from his wide position, and give more room to the Egyptian full-backs to get forward when his side had possession.

All in all it was a disappointing match for Ghaly, in what was largely a positive performance for Egypt, as they showed they’ve got the disappointment of missing out on a ticket to South Africa later in the year out of their system collectively.  Harry Redknapp doesn’t often get a judgement on a player wrong, but it would appear on the evidence of today’s game that Spurs did the right thing by cutting their losses with Ghaly when they did.

Social Media

Football Club Rankings



Switch to our mobile site