Wednesday,26 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1359, (7 - 13 September 2017)
Wednesday,26 September, 2018
Issue 1359, (7 - 13 September 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Big step to Russia

Egypt’s 1-0 win against Uganda in the African qualifiers put Egypt on the verge of qualifying for the World Cup. Inas Mazhar reports from Alexandria

Big step to Russia


Egypt took a big step to the 2018 Russia World Cup after they defeated Uganda 1-0 on Tuesday in Alexandria.

The seventh minute strike, which proved to be the winning goal, was scored by Liverpool star Mohamed Salah who latched on to an excellent through ball by Abdallah Al-Said. Salah’s first-time shot was parried by goalkeeper Dennis Onyango before Salah slotted in the rebound.

Egypt had a few golden opportunities to increase their lead. Trezeguet had his point-blank range shot blocked in minute 74 while Onyango came up big to tip Salah’s low curling effort with two minutes to go in the game.

With two games remaining in Group E, Egypt now has nine points, Uganda seven, while Ghana lie in third with five points after thumping Congo 5-1 in Brazzaville. Congo, with just one point, have been eliminated.

The win avenged Uganda’s 1-0 defeat of Egypt five days earlier in Kampala.

Big step to Russia

Borg Al-Arab Stadium was filled to the brink with 80,000 spectators. Many came from Cairo and the summer resorts nearby. The crowds started entering at 12 noon even though the game started at 8pm.

Tickets were sold out a day before the match.

Goalkeeper Essam Al-Hadari, 44, extolled the fans to keep cheering the team on.

Egypt’s Argentine coach Hector Cuper defended his extra cautious approach. At the post-game press conference he said the three points were more important than performance and that it was not the right time to experiment with new formations or new players.

“It’s true that we now top the group with nine points but we still have two important matches to go against Congo and Ghana,” Egypt’s team coach Ehab Leheta said. “While everybody believes that winning the next game against Congo would guarantee our qualification, we need to win the next two matches”.

Egyptian sub Sam Morsi said the game was “fantastic, bizarre. Uganda were fighting for their lives, as was Egypt. This game was even harder than the first one. We were disappointed with the results of the previous game and wanted to put today’s game right for the people of Egypt and everybody who supported us in mad numbers. We still have work to do but we have one more step to go.

Big step to Russia

“The next game against Congo is very important. If we win that game we would have a fantastic chance of qualifying to the World Cup.

“We might have been clinical but the most important thing was winning today,” Morsi said.

Uganda will play Ghana in Kampala on 7 October, followed by Egypt and Congo in Alexandria a day later.

The last games are on 6 November: Congo vs Uganda in Congo and Ghana vs Egypt in Ghana.

Leheta said the Pharaohs will hold a closed-door training camp before the Congo game.

Egypt beat Congo 2-1 in the first leg in Congo.

Egypt has not been to the World Cup since 1990.

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