AFCON 2017: Salah takes Egypt to quarter-finals

AFCON 2017: Salah takes Egypt to quarter-finals
Egypt's Mohamed Salah took his team to the quarter-finals during the final match of the group stages with an early goal against Ghana.
2 min read
26 Jan, 2017
Egypt will play against Morocco at the quarter-finals [Anadolu]

On the last day of the Africa Cup of Nations’ group stage, Egypt and Mohamed Salah met Ghana and its Israeli coach, Avram Grant. As Ghana already qualified, The Pharaohs needed at least a draw in order to qualify, and a victory to lead their group.

The match kicked off and Egypt looked determined. The first chance of the match came through Mohammed El-Nenny, who struck a powerful shot from 20 metres, but it went wide and out.

On the 10th minute Egypt won a free kick on the 16 metre line. Mohamed Salah was ready for the mission and took an amazing free kick, straight to the right top corner of the Ghanaian goalkeeper Razak Brimah. It was the first goal in the competition for the best Arab footballer of 2016 and 1-0 to Egypt.

Egypt dictated and dominated the rhythm of the game, while Ghana did not produce any serious threats. But after twenty minutes, Ghana began to test Al-Khadary. Unfortunately for them, their big star, Asamoah Gyan, on his 100th appearance for his country, got injured and was replaced by Jordan Ayew, Aston Villa’s forward.

The first half finished with a minimum advantage for the Egyptians, 1-0, which overall was better than the Ghanaian Black Stars.

The second half kick off with the same tone of the first. It seems that a match between teams of Avram Grant and Hector Cúper cannot produce an attractive game to watch.

Ghana tested Al-Hadary with shots from outside of the box, but the veteran goalkeeper and the well-organised Egyptian defence stopped them time after time.

The match got heated a little in the last fifteen minutes with many fouls committed by both teams.

Ghana pushed Egypt towards its own box, but the Ghanaian fowards weren’t lethal enough to beat Al-Hadary. On the 89th minute he made a huge step towards the Man of the Match title, after he provided a huge save to Jordan Ayew’s attempt.

Eventually, Egypt won 1-0 and qualified to the quarter-final as the Group D winner, and will play against Morocco in Port Gentil. Ghana will meet the Democratic Republic of Congo, and maybe, just maybe, will meet Egypt again in the final.

Uri Levy runs the popular football blog BabaGol, which covers football and politics focusing on the Middle East. Follow him on Twitter, and read his blog here