AFCON: Egypt aims for safe passage into round of 16
Egypt will aim to secure safe passage into the round of 16 at the Total Energies Africa Cup of Nations when they face Group D rivals Sudan at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde on Wednesday evening
The kick-off is at 9 pm CAT (SA, GMT+2).
Egypt has not enjoyed a stellar Afcon thus far, suffering a 1-0 loss to Nigeria in their opener before securing a somewhat fortunate 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau this past weekend, in which Mohamed Salah scored the goal, while their opponents had a late equaliser harshly ruled out by VAR.
The Pharaohs, though, need only avoid defeat against Sudan to secure second place (with Nigeria already guaranteed top spot) and progression into the next round.
Skipper Salah has been moved to defend under-fire coach Carlos Queiroz: “The coach has not been with us three months ago and there are new players that have joined the Egyptian national team,” said the Liverpool forward.
“I don’t know how many players started a match with the national team for the first time in the Africa Cup of Nations. We hadn’t had new players since 2010 and this was a difficult challenge for the coach. We had to arrange things in order to appear better.
“We have to fight in this very difficult tournament. All the teams know how to play football and they have many players in Europe. We must believe in our abilities and our chances, fight as much as we can and see where we go in the tournament.”
Sudan, meanwhile, are bottom of the log after a 0-0 draw with Guinea-Bissau and 3-1 loss at the hands of Nigeria.
The Falcons of Jediane are not out of last 16 contention, but they must beat Egypt to have a chance of snatching second place or being one of the top-ranked third-place finishers – and facing the Pharaohs has always been a major motivating factor for the North-East African side.
“We have one game left in the group, and we will do our best to qualify even though it is not going to be easy,” said coach Burhan Tia.
In head-to-head stats, Egypt and Sudan have met in 21 matches across all competitions since their first clash back in 1957. The Pharaohs have claimed 14 wins compared to two for the Falcons of Jediane, while five games have been drawn.
The teams last met in the Arab Cup just last month, with Egypt claiming a 5-0 win in a group stage match in Doha thanks to goals from Ahmed Refaat, Ahmed Zizo, Mahmoud El Wensh, Hussein Faisal and Mohamed Sherif.
The other Group D match in this round sees Guinea-Bissau take on Nigeria, which will be played simultaneously at the Roumde Adjia Stadium in Garoua.