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VIDEO: Egypt fall to Chile in Madrid
Second half goals from Eduardo Vargas and Carlos Carmona led Chile to a 2-1 friendly victory over Egypt, with Mohamed Salah scoring a late consolation for the Pharaohs.
Egypt had the better chances in the first half, going close through Hosni Abd-Rabo and Mohamed Nagy ‘Gedo’ while on-loan Dhofar midfielder Ahmed Temsah missed a simple chance with the goal at his mercy. After the break, Chile asserted themselves more on the match and two goals in five minutes put them in control, before Salah scored late on for Egypt.
With Ekramy getting a surprise start in goal, Egypt started with captain Wael Gomaa partnering Adam El-Abd, who was making his first start in defense, with Ahmed Fathi and Ahmed Shedid playing as fullbacks on the right and left flanks respectively. Bradley’s trademark midfield trio included Hosni Abd-Rabo, Mohamed El-Nenny and talisman Mohamed Abou-Treika all playing behind the forward line of Mohamed Salah, Gedo, and Temsah.
1st half Chances
After a nervy opening 10 minutes from both teams, Egypt picked up the pace and began creating chances in the attacking third. Mohamed Abou-Treika was at the heart of everything positive for Egypt, almost finding Salah through on goal before goalkeeper Claudio Bravo raced off his line to collect. Egypt continued pressing well, and in the 13th minute a long range shot by Hosni Abd-Rabo was tipped onto the crossbar by the excellent Bravo, before Temsah was guilty of a horrible miss when it seemed easier to score. After Abou-Treika was fouled on the edge of the box, the referee played advantage, allowing the lively Mohamed Salah to square for Temsah with the goal gaping and no defenders in sight, only for him to shoot straight at the keeper. Gedo was also active in the first half, nipping in ahead of Chilean defender Medel to go 1-on-1 with the Bravo, only to scuff his shot straight at him.
Egypt were in control in the first half, but Chile reminded the Egyptians of their danger when on the half hour mark Alexis Sanchez- who was a menace to Egypt’s defenders throughout- missed a volley from 5 yards out after good work on the right side by Juventus winger Mauricio Isla. Egypt’s defenders, especially El-Abd and the fullbacks, were doing an excellent job keeping Chile’s dangerous attackers at bay and playing the ball out of the back, rather than just hoofing it forward.
Egypt had time for one more opportunity before half-time, after Gedo controlled a long ball and laid it off for Salah on the edge of the box, only for him to see his weak shot roll into Bravo’s grateful arms. Bradley’s side headed into the half time break as the better side but the score remained 0-0 after they failed to capitalize on their chances.
Fatigue sets in
Bradley made one substitution to start the second half, with Omar Gaber replacing Ahmed Temsah and playing in front of Ahmed Fathi on the right wing. Despite this, it quickly became apparent that Egypt’s players were tiring, as the year-long break of the domestic league began to take its’ toll. The crisp passing that was on display in the opening 45 minutes was instead replaced with disjointed play, as Chile, who made two half-time changes themselves, began dominating the game. Egypt were restricted to counterattacks, with Abou-Treika firing a shot wide and Omar Gaber bursting forward after good work from El-Nenny, who was composed with the ball at his feet throughout the match.
However, it was partly Gaber’s fault for the game’s opening goal in the 60th minute, when he was dispossessed on the edge of the box and the ball was worked to the impressive Eduardo Vargas on the right side of the penalty box, who lashed into the far corner across Sherif Ekramy. Although he may have felt he could have done better for the first, there was nothing Ekramy could do for the second Chile goal just five minutes later- after parrying a Sanchez effort, the ball deflected off a stranded Adam El-Abd and Carmona lashed in from close range.
Bradley made several changes after that, with Ramy Rabia, Okka, Mohamed Ibrahim, Ibrahim Salah and Abdallah Said all getting chances to impress. Zamalek youngster Ibrahim was the brightest spot in the last 15 minutes for Egypt, leading a couple of quick counterattacks and going close with a deflected shot. The game was petering out to a disappointing conclusion when a quick break lead by Omar Gaber and Mohamed Salah in the 88th minute led to the latter squaring for the Basel man to finish from close range. It looked like Egypt then might have the chance to grab a late equalizer, until the referee surprisingly ended the match after just a minute of the three added on.
Overall, it was a decent display by Bradley’s side considering the lack of match practice most of the players have had. Signs of the organization and discipline he has instilled in the squad since his arrival were apparent, especially in the first half. Further, the youngsters that have emerged through the ranks under his reign, such as Gaber, Salah and Ibrahim had encouraging games. Looking ahead to the World Cup Qualifying campaign for Rio 2014 and with the league starting again last week, the signs are positive for Bob Bradley and the Egyptian national team.
Egypt’s first-half misses
Alexis Sanchez misses a glorious chance:
(Image courtesy: AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)