Ghana’s linchpin Asamoah Gyan limped off injured as Egypt secured their passage into the last-16 of the African Cup of Nations for the first time in seven years, with a well fought 1-0 victory over Ghana.
Egypt got the edge on their group rivals early on, when Mohamed Salah opened the scoring 10 minutes in with an excellent effort. The tie was muted from that point, with half chances from Marwan Mohsen and Daniel Amartey but they couldn’t add to the scoring.
It was a Ghanaian bombardment in the second period, with excellent chances from Christian Atsu and Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu and Jordan Ayew but they couldn’t prevent the Egyptians from topping group D.
Great way to open the game
It was a tight at the top of group D as Egypt looked to reach the last 16 for the first time in seven years, and had an excellent start as they took the lead ten minutes in.
It was a free-kick in a dangerous position for Salah, and a gap in the wall opened up the opportunity for the Roma man who smashed the effort into the top corner giving Razak Brimah no chance.
Gunning for a second
After Héctor Cúper’s side had opened the scoring, the action died down extensively with only half-chances following as the half came to a close.
Egypt were almost handed a second goal in the 39th minute, when Barry kicked it straight into the feet of Mohsen who had an open goal but he could only lift it over the roof of the net.
The Black Star’s had rarely been in the game and were hindered further when star striker Asamoah Gyan went off injured. However, Avram Grant’s side had a golden opportunity with four minutes from the break, when Atsu played a ball into back post. It managed to find the head of Amartey, but instead it of firing back across the goalkeeper he headed it wide of the mark.
Flying out the traps
Grant’s side came flying out of the traps in the second period as they looked for a way back into the game, and they had some excellent opportunities to get themselves back into the contest.
They had their first attack on the Egyptian goal in the 56th minute, when Atsu produced an excellent run to slalom his way through two defenders. Essam El Hadary looked to be in trouble as Atsu looked to pull the trigger, but he was hindered by the surface as it bobbled away from him.
Atsu was at it once again ten minutes later, when he was put through on goal after been found by an excellent ball from Harrison Afful. He looked to be one-on-one with Hadary, but he managed to put it wide and wouldn’t have counted otherwise as the flag was raised for offside.
Things looked to becoming desperate a minute later, when Badu tried a shot from distance which looked difficult for Hadary as it bounced in front of him but he did well to palm away from danger.
One last try
As the clock ticked down both sides were giving it their all as they looked to make a difference in the game, with it becoming an end-to-end affair.
Ayew did brilliantly to make his way to the edge of the area, managed to bring it back before letting rip but El-Hadary did well to get to it and palm away.
The win for Egypt means they join Ghana in the next round.