Mohamed Salah and Abdalla El Said are on target as Egypt brush aside Ghana in Alexandria.
PIC: Mohamed Salah (shirt 10), who scored Egypt's opener, continued to be a constant threat to Ghana. (AFP)
2018 FIFA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS
GROUP E RESULTS
Sunday: Egypt 2 Ghana 0
Saturday: Uganda 1 Congo 0
ALEXANDRIA – Egypt regained control of Group E of Africa’s World Cup qualification after beating Ghana 2-0 at Borg El Arab Stadium on Sunday.
It means Uganda, who beat Congo Brazzaville the previous day in Kampala, slide into second place, with Ghana in third and the Diables Rouges (Red Devils) rock-bottom.
Playing under floodlights, the Pharaohs once again overpowered their west African opponents, having brushed aside the Black Stars 2-1 three years ago – although lost 7-3 on aggregate – in the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
Mohamed Salah, who plays for Italian Serie A side Roma, coolly beat Ghanaian keeper Brimah Razak from the spot two minutes before half-time, after Mohamed Trezeguet was bundled by defender Harrison Afful in the box, to settle home nerves.
Ghana, seeking a fourth consecutive World Cup appearance, will have felt that goal came against the run of play, having subjected the hosts to sustained pressure for long periods in a highly intense and very physical first half.
The Egyptians remained disciplined as the marauding visitors, playing with the Ayew brothers (Jordan and Andre) but without their talismanic attacker Asamoah Gyan, engineered attack after attack, only they couldn’t find a way through.
And while Avram Grant’s men surged forward with slow build-up, the hosts appeared to put to use their sharpness for blistering counter-attacks.
They returned a brighter side for the second half as the Ghanaians remained resolute too, but eventually showed signs of tire along the way.
And with four minutes remaining on referee Eric Otogo-Castane’s watch, Abdalla El Said struck to all but end the game as a contest.
Group action returns next year when Uganda host Egypt on August 27 in game three of these qualifiers, before Ghana play host to Congo the following day.
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