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Egypt’s AFCON hopes dashed in loss to Senegal

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Posted on November 15, 2014

AFCON hopes dashed

Egypt continues to make history in all the wrong ways during its 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign, as it lost its crunch showdown with 1-0 in Cairo on Saturday.

An early mistake from goalkeeper Ahmed El-Shennawy was the difference, as his failure to punch-clear on a high free kick handed Senegal’s Mame Diouf an easy headed goal on seven minutes.

Line-ups:

Egypt XI: Ahmed El-Shennawy (Mohamed Sobhy); Sabry Rahil, Ali Gabr, Mohamed Naguib, Ahmed Fathi; Ibrahim Salah (Hazem Emam), Mohamed El-Nenny (Arafa El-Sayed), Mahmoud Trezeguet; Mohamed Salah, Walid Soliman, Emad Meteb.

Senegal XI: Bouna Coundoul; Papy Mison Djilobodji, Cheikhou Kouyaté, Serigne Mbodji; Pape Souaré, Idrissa Gueye, Diop (Alfred N’Diaye), Stéphane Badji; Sadio Mané, Mame Biram Diouf (Diafra Sakho), Dame N’Doye.

El-Shennawy asked to be replaced following the mild collision that resulted in the opening score, though the nature of the injury wasn’t clear on replay.

Manager Shawky Gharib acquiesced to the Zamalek net-minder’s request, bringing on Smouha goalkeeper Mohamed Sobhy in his stead.

The Pharaohs had no real answer for Senegal’s organized, physical counter-attack.

Egypt’s first shot on goal didn’t come until the 23rd minute, a weak attempt from Salah that landed straight into Senegal goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul’s arms. Salah found himself with a half-chance ten minutes earlier, latching onto a through-ball but failing to pull the trigger.

Egypt did have a number of set-piece opportunities, but its execution was poor. Free-kick shots were routinely off target and corner-kick crosses regularly found Coundoul, if not the heads of Senegalese defenders.

It was the Terenga Lions that came closest to netting the game’s second goal, with Mame Diouf’s 45th minute, curling right footer smashing off the crossbar with Sobhy beaten.

Things didn’t improve for Egypt in the second half. Despite Senegal’s willingness to sit back and defend its advantage, the seven-time African champions had trouble mustering even the most meager of scoring opportunities.

Gharib, whose substitution options were limited by El-Shennawy’s peculiar exit, was unable to turn to the tide with his tactical and personnel changes.

Hoping to inject life into a dead attack, he introduced domestic top-scorer Arafa El-Sayed into the fold on 56 minutes, in place of FC Basel starlet Mohamed El-Nenny.

The El-Gaish striker did almost make his presence felt at the death, pushing a 93rd-minute header wide inside the six-yard box with Senegalese defenders draped over him.

The result was enough to see Senegal through to next year’s finals in Equatorial Guinea and leaves Egypt all but out of contention.

In order to avoid missing its third consecutive Africa Cup of Nations, Egypt must beat upstart Tunisia in Monastir on Wednesday and hope both Guinea (home against Uganda) and Congo (away against Sudan) fail to win their final matches. Tunisia has already clinched a spot in the finals.

The defeat also marked the first time Egypt has ever lost two home matches in a single qualifying campaign (including World Cup and AFCON) dating back to 1934.

5 Comments

  1. Omar Morsy

    November 15, 2014 at 9:40 PM

    Gharib is making history everyday.

  2. karim

    November 15, 2014 at 10:29 PM

    Gharib was never the right choice from the beginning…

  3. Nader

    November 16, 2014 at 4:38 AM

    If (big if) we win in Tunisia, our chances of qualifiying will be 50 %! We will have 9 points in this case, which means there are two only realistic 3rd Place Finshers who could be above us:

    Fact: A Win in Tunisia would guarantee 9 Points and at least Goal Difference of +1

    Group A: Nigeria must win in Sudan and Congo must win Sudan! Should either of the 2 sides drop points, then the 3 placed Team will have 8 Pts at best, which would be less than the mentioned 9 Pts

    Group B: If Mali wins vs Algeria and Malawi wins in Ethiopia both will have 9 points, but 3rd Placed Malawi would have to win at least by five to reach Goal Diff of +1,

    Group C: 3rd Placed Angola can’t reach more than 8 Pts

    Group D: I think DR Congo is the biggest Contender for Best 3rd Place Finsher, as they would be guaranteed 9 Pts with a potential good Goal Diff., should they trash Sierra Leone at home (who just got trashed 5-1 by CIV). But in each case, this Group has early Kickoff Time, so we will know early how big our task will actually be in an Late Evening Game in Tunisia 😉

    Group E: Most open group, as every team can still qualify, but no danger, because 3rd Placed Team can’t reach more than 8 Pts.

    Group F: 3rd Placed Mozambique can’t reach more than 8 Pts

    Summary: We only have two Groups of interest (A,D), assuming we won in Tunisia (which i honestly dont see after todays performance). DRC and Congo Brazzaville seem to be in Pole Position for Best 3rd Place Finsh, if they slip in the afternoon our fate will be in our hands!!

    • Nussmasri

      November 17, 2014 at 5:24 AM

      Great analysis. Thank you.

      I agree. DR Congo is the biggest threat with a big potential for goal difference.

  4. hossam, cairo

    November 17, 2014 at 12:55 PM

    Guys, even if we qualify.. do you think our players will win the African Cup and bring it to dictator cc. These players don’t really care about football since the coup, when they lost 1:6 to Ghana. They we all shocked about the massacre in rabaa some days before.

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