Football

26-1-2022 Ivory Coast 0 Egypt 0 (Egypt won 5-4 on penalties) AFCON 2021

Ivory Coast 0 Egypt 0  (Egypt won 5-4 on penalties)

 

Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah delivers the knockout blow after Manchester United defender Eric Bailly fails to convert his spot-kick.

Allowing the multiple winners to progress into a quarter-final matchup with Morocco in Yaounde.

 

This encounter was played in hot conditions on a less than perfect surface.

It began with the Ivorians pressing before a fairly small crowd in Douala.

 

But without testing El Shenawy in the Egypt goal.

After that flourish the Pharaohs started to take control and the Stuttgart forward Omar Marmoush cracked an effort against the bar.

That was followed by the main man, Salah, getting in space and testing the Cameroon goalie.

Salah would always look the most likely either directly or via his astute passing.

 

However, the Ivory Coast did develop some chances with Max Gradel looking dangerous down the left.

But it was the tall Sebastien Haller who had the shots including one right at the end of the first period.

Goalless at the break it had been edged by Egypt.

 

They would get on top for most of the second with Salah again creating some opportunities for others.

Although Haller forced a good save from El Shenawy after a corner was headed on.

And after Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha came on he also brought out a save.

 

As the game slowed down and became more attritional there were a number of stoppages, particularly in the thirty minutes of extra time. 

In it, Egypt had to replace their injured goalie and bring on Zamalek’s Abdou Gabal.

Who would feature in the penalty shootout.

Which was looking likely well before the referee ended the 120 minutes.

 

Abdou Gamal certainly seemed better able to prevent a conversion than Badra Ali for the Elephants who tended to dive too early.

And so it was that when Manchester United’s Eric Bailly stepped up, from a very short run-up, his weak effort was well saved by Gamal.

That would ultimately leave the outstanding player, Salah, the chance to win the game for Egypt.

Which he competently did, scoring to the goalie’s left while the keeper went the other way.

 

It was a disappointment for Ivory Coast who had lost the talented Franck Kessie to injury early in the match.

But for the reliably solid Egyptians, the record winners at AFCON, they will next meet fellow North Africans Morocco in the quarters.

With their talisman, Mo Salah, definitely ready for the challenge.

 

Report & Analysis -  John Bethell

 

 


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