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VIDEO: Cúper off to winning start as Egypt top Equatorial Guinea 2-0
In the Argentine’s first test as Egypt manager, Hector Cuper selected a predominantly attacking 4-4-2 line-up.
Ahmed El-Shennawy and Ahmed Fathi both missed out on the game after being injured in the pre-match camp, although it is unsure if either would have been in Cúper’s starting eleven plan.
Sherif Ekramy; Hazem Emam, Ahmed Hegazy, Rami Rabia, Hussein El-Sayed; Ahmed Elmohamady, Ibrahim Salah, Mohamed El-Nenny, Mahmoud Trezeguet; Emad Meteb (captain), Mohamed Salah.
In front of an empty stadium, Egypt controlled proceedings early on, with Mohamed Salah adopting a second striker role similar to his position with Fiorentina, where he has excelled. Despite Egypt’s initial dominance, it was Equatorial Guinea who produced the first threat on goal on 15 minutes, but Ekramy produced a wonderful leg save to keep the game tied.
Egypt’s first test on the Equatorial Guinea goal came on 32 minutes when Trezeguet fired a shot over the goal following a sublime through ball from Mohamed Salah, after a fine team move.
Egypt thought they had a breakthrough after 36 minutes, but Ahmed Elmohamady’s goal was ruled to be offside, and the game remained deadlocked. One minute later, Emad Meteb fired a shot from 12-yards over the bar, following a nice team move and final pass from Mohamed Salah.
The Pharaohs continued their dominance throughout the half, with Equatorial Guinea only threatening mildly on the counter-attack, but the first half ended in a 0-0 draw.
Egypt came out to start the second half unchanged, but that was soon to change, as Cuper began to experiment with his team. Basem Morsi came on for Ahmed Elmohamady, pushing Mohamed Salah to the right wing, while Morsi took up the second striker position next to Meteb. Al Ahly midfielder Hossam Ghaly came on for Ibrahim Salah, and Ali Gabr replaced on-loan Perugia defender Ahmed Hegazy. Khaled Kamar came on to replace Emad Meteb as the second striker, and Saleh Gomaa replaced Mohamed El-Nenny in midfield.
The second half continued as the first half ended, with Egypt on the front foot but unable to really muster up any real chances. On 73 minutes, Saleh Gomaa had an excellent free-kick stopped by the Equatorial Guinea goalkeeper, while Mohamed Salah wasted a one-on-one chance. Shortly after, Salah was replaced by Momen Zakaria.
In the 84th minute, Equatorial Guinea came close to stealing a win on the counter-attack after Balboa’s header found the crossbar and sailed over the goal after Ekramy was beaten.
One minute later, Egypt broke the deadlock with a Basem Morsi goal. Following a short corner by Egypt, Saleh Gomaa raced down the sideline before sliding in a low cross, which Morsi met to slot the ball home.
In the last minute of injury time, Trezeguet magnificently extended the lead following a terrific solo run, weaving in and out of challenges, before firing home a rocket into the bottom of the goal to end the game 2-0 and sent Hector Cuper home with his first win at Egypt’s helm.