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VIDEO: Egypt fall 3-2 in Santiago to World Cup-bound Chile
The Pharaohs‘ brilliant start wasn’t enough to earn Shawky Gharib his second win in as many matches at the helm – following a successful debut against Bosnia – as World Cup-bound La Roja fought back to spare their blushes and seal a 3-2 win at the Estádio Nacional.
Chile: Claudio Bravo; Gary Medel, Gonzalo Jara, Miiko Albornoz; Mauricio Isla (76′ José Pedro Fuenzalida), Marcelo Díaz (46′ Eugenio Mena), Felipe Gutiérrez, Jean Beausejour (57′ Mauricio Pinilla); Charles Aránguiz (85′ Carlos Carmona); Alexis Sánchez, Eduardo Vargas.
Egypt: Sherif Ekramy (46′ Essam El-Hadary); Aly Ghazal, Ahmed Said ‘Okka’, Rami Rabia (67′ Hosni Abd-Rabo), Mohamed El-Nenny (88′ Ahmed Hamoudi); Ahmed Fathi, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Ahmed Elmohamady (66′ Hazem Emam), Hossam Ghaly (46′ Omar Gaber); Khaled Kamar (66′ Amr Gamal), Mohamed Salah
Despite struggling to string passes together early on, Egypt managed to beat Chile’s offside trap twice within the opening 16 minutes to give themselves a surprising 2-0 lead, silencing the crowd in Santiago.
Mohamed Salah found himself through on goal when former FC Basel teammate Mohamed El-Nenny capitalized on Chile’s sloppy passing, before threading the Chelsea winger in from deep in midfield with a superb one-touch pass.
21-year-old Salah calmly finished past Barcelona-bound goalkeeper Claudio Bravo in the 12th minute, netting his 19th international goal in 29 appearances – equaling Mido and Gedo’s tallies for Egypt, which makes him the country’s joint ninth all-time top goal scorer.
Four minutes later, Nacional’s Aly Ghazal sent a perfectly-timed long ball over the Chilean defense, which saw Ittihad El-Shorta striker Khaled Kamar beat Bravo one-on-one with a delightful chip – his first goal with the Pharaohs.
Chile began to really pile the pressure on Egypt, and it didn’t take long for them to pull one back, despite Al Ahly shot-stopper Sherif Ekramy making a handful of fantastic saves.
Barcelona winger Alexis Sánchez, who went on to set up all three of Chile’s goals, soared past Rami Rabia before finding El-Nenny’s Basel teammate Marcelo Díaz, who pulled off a brilliant piece of skill to beat Ekramy.
After being left unmarked inside the box, Diaz chipped the ball up towards himself and unleashed a fierce volley to make the score 1-2 after 26 minutes, which remained the same going into half-time.
Following a host of second-half changes, including 41-year-old Essam El-Hadary replacing Ekramy between the sticks, the Pharaohs appeared disorganized and much more vulnerable at the back, which paved the way for the Chilean onslaught.
Alexis combined well with Valencia forward Eduardo Vargas on two occasions, with the first on the hour mark, leading to the hosts’ equalizer.
Vargas controlled a chipped pass from Alexis and found space between Ghazal and Elmohamady before striking the ball between the legs of El-Hadary.
Despite having a superb first-half, Ghazal struggled to keep up with Vargas, who did well to control a deep through-ball from Alexis and creep behind the towering defender to finish past El-Hadary on the 78th minute.
Hazem Emam, who replaced Hull City’s Elmohamady, was Gharib’s only real effective substitute, and the Zamalek right wing-back came extremely close to equalizing with a chip over Bravo in the dying minutes, which was cleared off the line by a defender.
Egypt also appealed for a penalty in injury time when Salah appeared to be tripped inside the box – again, following good link-up play by Emam – but the referee waved play on before blowing the final whistle.
The Pharaohs will set off for London over the weekend in preparation for yet another contest, a Wednesday friendly against Jamaica.