Egypt Too Strong For Nigeria
The defending champions Egypt yesterday came from behind to beat Nigeria 3-1 in an Africa Cup of Nations Group B match played in Benguela.
Chinedu Obasi opened the scoring for the Super Eagles early on, but Emad Motaeb equalized in the first half for the North Africans.
Second half strikes by captain Ahmed Hassan and substitute Mohamed Nagui gave the Pharaohs an important 3-1 victory.
A disappointing crowd of 5,000 was in the Ombaka Stadium in Benguela at the start of the game, but by the end the crowd had swelled to close to 30, 000 in the 35, 000-seater stadium built for the tournament.
The first chance of the game fell to Egyptian Mohamed Zidan in the 6th minute and although goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama pushed the ball over the crossbar, the referee blew for a goalkick.
Somewhat against the run of play Obasi, who plays his club football for Hoffenheim in the German Bundesliga, opened the scoring in the 12th minute with a well-taken shot from just inside the area.
Hassan came close to equalizing just minutes later, but his shot went just wide.
The Super Eagles had a strong penalty-appeal turned down midway through the half when Yakubu Aiyegbeni's shot hit Hani Said's arm, but the referee waved play on.
Ten minutes from the break the Pharaohs were back on level terms when captain Hassan sent through a defence splitting pass to Motaeb and he went around the on-rushing Vincent Enyeama and pushed the ball into the back of the empty net.
Seven minutes after the restart Ahmed Fathi forced a good save from Enyeama with a shot from a tight angle.
The defending champions took the lead in the 54th minute with a brilliant goal from Hassan, whose deflected shot from just outside the area gave the Nigerian goalkeeper no chance.
On the hour Motaeb could have easily made it three for his side after being one-on-one with Enyeama, but the Israel-based custodian did well to deny the Al Ahli striker.
Enyeama was again up to the task a few minutes later when Zidan curled a free-kick around the wall.
Although Nigerian coach Shaibu Amodu introduced Portsmouth's Nwankwo Kanu into the game with some 15 minutes to go, the lanky striker could not bring his team back into the game.
Instead, it was the Egyptian side which found the net for the third time after Sayed Moawad pushed the ball through to Nagui who scored with a low shot.