Wednesday,20 June, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1169, (24 - 30 October 2013)
Wednesday,20 June, 2018
Issue 1169, (24 - 30 October 2013)

Ahram Weekly

Soccer on the side: Same story

Thrashing by Ghana dashes World Cup hopes, reports Marwan Zayed

Al-Ahram Weekly

In a very sad week for Egyptian football, the national team suffered one of its worst defeats in its history as they were drubbed by Ghana 6-1 in Kumasi in their final qualifying round of the World Cup. The horrific and shameful score of the game was exactly the opposite of what Egyptian fans expected from their players as we went to Ghana hoping to snatch a good result that would make the dream possible in the second leg. However, Egypt can consider themselves already watching the World Cup here from Egypt as it’s nearly impossible for our mediocre and inexperienced team to beat an extremely in-form Ghana side 5-0 on 19 November, a team that has at least five or six superstars.
Egypt started the game in the worst fashion possible as we conceded in the fourth minute which took its toll on our players as they seemed lost and shocked by that goal. From that point until Ghana scored their second goal via Wael Gomaa’s own goal, Ghana missed at least five clear cut chances. Our defence was terrible, our midfield was too far apart from the defence and our attackers tried to put pressure on Ghana’s defence very high on the pitch which left huge spaces behind them. Ghana’s tricky and quick wingers exploited these spaces and caused us plenty of problems. Michael Essien danced through our defence before the ball bounced off Gomaa into the back of the net to make the score 2-0 inside the first 20 minutes.
The Egyptian national team tried to stay calm and play their usual football and for 10 or 15 minutes we were excellent, leading to our star Mohamed Salah winning a penalty which was converted by Mohamed Abu Treika to make the score 2-1 and give us hope of getting an equaliser or at least go back home with that score. However, once again the inexperience of international football showed on our defenders as we conceded the third goal before half time which destroyed the confidence of our players. The second half was a totally a one-sided encounter as the Ghanaian players showed their undoubted quality and scored three times in addition to missing many chances to leave the Egyptian players and Egyptian fans shattered as the dram of qualifying to the World Cup once again disappeared after coming so close. Egypt’s last World Cup was in 1990. It appears we must look ahead to 2018 in Moscow. Same old story, unfortunately.
Fresh from that heartache, Kahraba was the only Egyptian star to make a significant impact at his club as he scored the only goal for Luzern as they drew 1-1 against Young Boys. The Egyptian attacker scored his second goal in a row in the fifth minute of the game when he slid the ball underneath the keeper after going one on one with him. The Egyptian’s contributions didn’t stop here as he tormented the opponents’ defence with his clever moves and silky skills until he won a penalty for his side in the 67th minute only to see his teammate missing the spot kick. Ten minutes later, the tired Kahraba left the pitch to a standing ovation from the home fans. The touching moment of the game and maybe the season was when Kahraba celebrated his goal by kneeling on the Egyptian flag and kissing it to show his sadness about what happened against Ghana. The tribute was applauded by the spectators and commentator of the game. The draw took Luzern to third place in the league table.
Still in Switzerland, both Mohamed Salah and Al-Nenni started Basel’s game against St Gallen on the bench as their coach Murat Yakin stated before the game that both players are feeling really down after coming back from Ghana and that they were not mentally in the mood to play the game. However, as Basel were leading 3-0 Yakin decided to bring on both our stars in the 72nd, a cameo that will help them recover from Ghana’s game.
There wasn’t a significant contribution for any of our two stars as the game was already won by their teammates before they entered the pitch which meant the last 15 minutes of the game were like a training session. The win meant Basel stayed top of the league table.
In England, Ahmed Al-Mohamadi played the full game for Hull City as they lost 2-1 against Everton away from home. Al-Mohamadi had a very decent game overall and made sure he did not give the outstanding Baines neither space or time to show his attacking powers. However, his duties against Baines did not give Al-Mohamadi himself many chances to go forward to put crosses in the box but overall the Egyptian winger had a good game and will be pleases by his performance. On the other hand, Gedo wasn’t part of the squad for the game as he’s yet to reach peak condition in terms of fitness and match practice. Hull City drops to ninth in the league table after that draw.
Still in England, Adam Al-Abd stayed on the bench and watched Brighton play a goalless draw against Yeovil Town away from home. The draw meant Brighton dropped to 15th place in the league table.
In Belgium, Hossam Ghali played for 64 minutes and Ahmed Farag played the full game as Lierse suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Genk 4-0. Ghali did not have a poor game but still he wasn’t his usual self by any means as Ghana’s heartache clearly showed on him. The Egyptian maestro kept it simple and spread passes to his teammates but he clearly was not in the mood of putting a real shift. On the other hand, Farag tried his best throughout the game but the whole Lierse team were outplayed by Genk which made it possible for any Lierse player to shine. The loss means Lierse drops to 11th place in the league table.
In Portugal, Ahmed Hassan Kouka helped Rio Ave beat Lagos 3-0 away from home in the Portuguese cup. Kouka couldnt score in the game but reports indicate he had a very decent outing and came close to scoring several times only to see the keeper denying him time and time again.

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