Hosts Egypt had a morale boosting 1-0 victory over fellow finalists Tanzania on Thursday at the Alexandria based Borg El Arab stadium as both sides prepared for the impending Total Africa Cup of Nations, starting next week.
England based Captain Ahmed Elmohamady scored what proved to be the game’s lone goal after 64 minutes, as Javier Aguirre men cruised to victory over Taifa Stars, who return to the continental showpiece after almost four decades of absence.
Pharaohs’ Mexican coach
Aguirre opted for a changed side to test the readiness of his players before kicking off the Africa Cup of Nations next Friday. Super star and UEFA Champions League winner with Liverpool Mohamed Salah was rested after he just joined Egypt’s camp late on Wednesday, having some rest after guiding the Reds to their sixth Champions League glory earlier this month.
Skipper Elmohamady who plays for newly promoted to Premier League side Aston Villa was the man behind Egypt’s chances in the first half. The veteran right back sent a couple of crosses that striker Ahmed Ali missed, with Tanzania’s shot stopper Aishi Manula proving up to the challenge.
Returning to the Pharaohs squad, Ahly’s playmaker Waleed Soliman produced some fine stuff in the opening half, but the final touch still eluded the Egyptians as both sides went to the break goalless.
Both sides made numerous changes in the second half, and three minutes after resumption Soliman should have given Egypt the lead but his header found Manula’s hand then the ball was deflected to the post before being cleared by Tanzania’s defense.
And 19 minutes into the second half, Elmohamady broke the deadlock when his header from substitute Ahmed Mansour’s cross wronged Manula.
Egypt’s substitute goalkeeper Mahmoud Gennish was alert to deny Mbwana Samatta twice late into the game. Egypt cruised to 1-0 victory while Taifa Stars looked satisfied with their performance.
The Pharaohs will fine tune their preparations next Sunday (16 June 2019) against Guinea, also at Borg El Arab.
Egypt kicks off the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations against Zimbabwe on Friday (21 June 2019) at Cairo International Stadium. DR Congo and Uganda complete the Group A pool. While Tanzania play in Group C with fellow CECAFA side Kenya, Senegal and Algeria.