Long Road Await Egypt After Tunisia Loss

Record African champions, Egypt find themselves on the verge of missing the Africa Cup of Nations finals for the third time in a row after conceding to a second successive defeat in the qualifiers.

The Pharaohs slumped to a 1-0 loss to North African rivals, Tunisia to trail Group G of the qualifiers pointless.

Carthage Eagles had striker Fakhreddine Ben Youssef to thank after the CS Sfaxien talisman scored the only goal of the match after 14 minutes.

The game that was held at Cairo’s Air Defense Stadium was marked with fans returning to the stands after long absence due to security reasons. But the Egyptians had nothing to cheer at after they witnessed their team producing one of their worst performances in recent times.

Tunisia started on a high note and had numerous corner kicks in the starting minutes. Ben Youssef proved to be a continuous threat to Egyptian defense and after 14 minutes he broke the deadlock after going round defender Ahmed Said ‘Ouka’ to score with only goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy at his mercy.

Egypt should have equalized ten minutes after, but striker Khaled Kamar missed a clear scoring chance when he fumbled from a one-on-one situation with Tunisia’s keeper Aymen Mathlouthi to beat.

Egypt manager Shawki Gharib introduced Hosni Abd Rabou before half time as he tried to control the midfield area, but the visitors remained the better side as recess.

The second half was not a different story, with Ben Youssef, Youssef Msakni and Yacine Chikhaoui causing troubles for the Egyptian defenders whenever they attacked.

Gharib’s search for the equalizer forced him to bring on Portugal based Ahmed Hassan “Koka” and Mahmoud Abdel Razek ‘Shikabala” but their presence rarely made an impact.

In-form Ben Youssef should have added a second goal after 67 minutes, but his shot kissed the post, before Ali Maaloul saw his shot saved by Ekramy minutes later.

There was nothing for the Egyptians to do as the final whistle went to see the Pharaohs losing for the second time in five days.

Tunisia has 6 points, tied with Senegal on top of Group G, while Egypt trail the group with no points, just like Botswana who lost at home to Senegal earlier on the day.

Reactions

Shawky Gharib (Egypt manager)

“I’m appealing to our supporters to have more patience. We are building a new generation and that will take some time. I feel disappointed and our mission is become very tough now. We repeated the mistakes we did against Senegal tonight. I changed our tactics and lineup but this didn’t work. The coming days will see more changes and more new faces coming to the team. I’m responsible for the defeat but I won’t quit, there’s much work to be done”.

Georges Leekens (Tunisia manager)

“We haven’t qualified yet all the teams have equal chances. There are four more games and 12 points to play for, and this means any team can qualify. Tonight we proved to our supporters that we can go all the way to Morocco 2015. I know we didn’t perform well against Botswana, but against Egypt we proved how g we are. I studied the Egypt team well and I’m thrilled with this victory”.

Source : Confederation of African Football