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VIDEO: Saleh Gomaa steals the show in Egypt’s 2-1 friendly win over Malawi
Saleh Gomaa put on a magnificent performance as a makeshift Egypt squad without Al Ahly or Zamalek players overcame a resolute Malawi side 2-1 in the final preparatory match before the AFCON qualifiers, thanks to goals from Ahmed Hassan Mekki and Dodo El-Gabas.
Malawi XI: (4-4-2) Harawa, Lanjesi, Mzava, Fodya, Malata, Kayira, Kamwendo, Mhone, John Banda, Gerald Phiri, Atusaye Nyondo.
Playing without the Al Ahly and Zamalek contingent, who will join the national team camp this week, the Héctor Cúper-led Pharaoh squad defeated the Malawi Flames 1-0 to give Cúper his second successive victory after taking over at the helm of the national team.
Egypt began the game all guns blazing, with Dodo El-Gabas and Ahmed Mekki providing high pressure and forcing the Flames into mistakes. The first chance of the game expectedly fell to Egypt in the fifth minute, as a brilliant switch of play by Kahraba led to a cross that was ultimately steered just wide.
The Pharaohs’ domination paid dividends when, on 19 minutes, Ahmed Mekki took advantage of some poor defending to volley the ball home from eight yards to give Egypt a 1-0 lead.
One minute later, ENPPI goalkeeper Ali Lotfy made a fine save to deny Malawi and preserve Egypt’s lead. Dodo El-Gabas almost doubled the scoreline ten minutes later after his acrobatic bicycle went just wide of the post.
Saleh Gomaa continued to conduct the show as Egypt dominated the rest of the half, but the teams went into the half with the score still 1-0 to the Pharaohs.
Two minutes into the second half, Dodo El-Gabas doubled the lead with a fantastic volley following a goalbox scramble.
Lierse youngster Karim Hafez earned his first cap on 56 minutes after a double substitution saw him replace Mohamed Abdel-Shafy and Arab Contractors star Mohamed Salem replaced goalscorer Ahmed Hassan Mekki.
The Flames got a goal back after 63 minutes when Kondowe caught the Egyptian defense off guard by playing a quick free-kick through to Nyondo, who tucked the ball home. Héctor Cúper gave ENPPI youngster Mahmoud Qaoud his first cap when he replaced club teammate Kahraba four minutes later, and Salah Ashour came on for Dodo El-Gabas.
The Pharaohs had a few more chances to extend their lead after Karim Hafez impressed down the left flank. Héctor Cúper continued to give debuts to promising youngsters as Mohamed Ashraf came on for Saleh Gomaa and Ragab Nabil came on for Amr El-Sulaya.
The Flames noticably started to gain control of the game following the substitution of Saleh Gomaa, but they were ultimately unable to tie the game, as the Pharaohs head into AFCON qualifiers on the heels of a 2-1 win.
Egypt will play Tanzania on June 14 in the first qualifier game, in a group that also contains Chad and Nigeria.