Defender Mahmoud Hamdy scored the lone goal as seven time African champions Egypt got their qualification campaign for the 2021 Total Africa Cup of Nations back on track with a slim 1-0 victory over Togo at the Cairo International Stadium on Sunday.
The victory at home was Egypt’s first in Group G after back to back draws against Kenya and Comoros. The win sees them move to five points, level with Comoros while Togo remain winless after picking their second loss of the qualifiers.
In the opening half, Egypt had several chances to score including one that was pushed to the bar by the keeper. The home side, winless in the first two games were hungry for victory and were faster off the blocks.
As early as the second minute, they were already prodding the Togolese box and Mostafa Mohamed had a rasping shot blocked a yard off the line with the keeper beaten.
They came closest in the 21st minute when a decent cross from Zizo found Mohamed inside the box, but the latter’s rasping header was pushed against the underside of the bar by keeper Malcom Danjuma.
Togo were playing with their handbrakes on but in the 25th minute they managed their first effort at goal, Ihlas Bebou trying his luck with a shot from the left which went wide.
Ten minutes on the turn, Trezeguet had another go at goal, this time a low drive from the edge of the area being easily collected by Danjuma.
Togo came close to going into the break tails up when some poor defending on the left saw Floyd Ayite break into the box, but his shot from a tight angle was kept out by Mohamed Elshenawy’s knees.
The home side stepped up their sharpness in front of goal in the second half and six minutes in, Trezeguet tested Danjuma with a ferocious freekick from range but the Togolese keeper proved equal to the task with a full stretched save.
They were however one goal up two minutes later, Hamdy heading them ahead from close range after Mohamed Elneny stretched his legs at the far post to bring back into danger skipper Abdallah Said’s freekick from the left.
With a goal to their names, Egypt kept attacking looking for an assuring second with Trezeguet being a constant threat. The Aston Villa winger was rested with Ramadan Sobhi brought on to freshen the attack.
Togo tried to piled the pressure on Egypt, but The Pharaohs kept their defensive discipline and tactical shape to ensure they jealously guarded their single goal victory to put their qualification hopes back on track.