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Egypt through to semi-final after victory over South Africa

Egypt U-23 team will meet hosts Morocco in the semi-final of the CAF U-23 African Championship on the 7th of December in Marrakech after the young Pharaohs dispatched South Africa 2-0 in the final group B match on Saturday. The victory took Egypt to the top of the group and they stay in Marrakech while Gabon who beat Cote d’ Ivoire to claim second spot will play Senegal in the first semi in Tangiers next Tuesday (6th December)

In an entertaining match that could have produced a goal avalanche Egypt proved more clinical in front of goal getting their goals from Mohamed El Nenny in the 46th minute and Marouan Mohsen in the 63rd minute. The last group match played on Saturday night in Marrakech saw the first chance go to South Africa Gladwin Shitolo but his effort was just  wide off the post with goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawi scrambling to get back to his line. A few minutes after that Ahmed Shokri curled his shot past the upright as the teams upped the tempo.

In the 16th minute El Shenawi  came off his goal line chase a loose ball together with Sameehg Doutie of South Africa , the keeper got to the ball first but as it bounced away from him onto an on-rushing Sangweni  the keeper only succeeded in bringing the South African  down right on the edge of the penalty box.  South Africa failed to make the most of the free –kick though.  El Senawi was called upon to make some saves that kept the Egyptians in the game but his opposite number Brilliant Khuzwayo was also thwarting Egyptian forwards as the game opened up with chances galore.  Egypt’s Omar Gaber earned his side a free-kick off the edge of the box after his mazy run had Thulani Hlatshwayo yellow carded for pulling Gaber down.  A fiercely struck left foot stinger by Ghaly Mohamed Salah was beaten  back into play by Khuzwayo and the half time whistle brought the  first half to an end at  nil-nil largely so because of the goalkeepers’ brilliance.  

The fans had hardly taken their seats from the break with the referee’s whistle barely  died down when  Egypt ‘s Mohamed El Nenny picked up a ball just outside the box turned and shot at goal for the opener.  South Africa responded with meaningful attacks but the Egyptian keeper was having a blinder and what he didn’t save was taken care of by the defence.   

In the 63rd minute Egypt crafted another well constructed move with Mohamed Ahmed Abd El Baset dribbling past a defender before playing in Al Fathy on the left flank who in turn crossed for Marouan Mohsen at the near post to score with a diving header.

South Africa went close with a dropping volley from Eugene Riaan which was going in until El Shenawi got a hand to divert it away for a corner. Both sides had opportunities to score but a combination of poor finishing and some excellent goalkeeping kept the score line at 2-0. The win took Egypt to five points with South Africa finishing with two points. The top three teams in the competition will qualify automatically for London 2012 Olympics while the fourth placed side will engage an Asian team in a playoff scheduled for April.

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