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20.11.2013 General News

BRAZIL, HERE WE COME…Pharaohs Fail To Cross Red Sea

By Ghanaian Chronicle
BRAZIL, HERE WE COME…Pharaohs Fail To Cross Red Sea
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Ghana made it to the third-successive FIFA World Cupâ„¢ after seeing off Egypt 7-3 on aggregate, despite the hosts putting up a more spirited display than the opening leg, winning 2-1 on the night.

Amr Zaki and Gedo secured the victory on home soil, where their first-half display gave occasional hints that something special could be in store, but Kevin-Prince Boateng's late strike sent Ghana to Brazil on the back of a comfortable triumph over two legs.

After the devastating 6-1 defeat in Kumasi, restoring pride was always going to be the most achievable goal for the Pharaohs.

But in front of a Cairo crowd who had not seen their national team play in two years, and with an away goal to their name, there is no doubt an optimistic few some inside the 30 June Stadium still held on to the slim hopes that a miracle could come to pass.

Egypt came out of the blocks the only way they could to have any chance of achieving the impossible: quickly and with purpose. Ghana were thrown onto the back foot almost immediately and the recalled Zaki had tested Fatawu Dauda from 30 yards inside the opening minute.

Ghana looked rocked by the intensity that met them, but they almost hit the hosts with what would have been a decisive sucker-punch soon after, with Rashid Sumalia putting the ball inches wide of the Egyptian upright.

The men in red remained in charge however as the visitors looked flustered, continually putting themselves under pressure during the first-half with sloppy passing and individual errors.

It was the latter that brought about Zaki's goal, as Douda came to meet Mohamed Aboutrika's free-kick the goalkeeper could not get past the crowd of players in front of him, with the striker in the right place at the right time to deflect the ball in.

Zaki remained the principle threat to Ghana's imposing lead, again forcing Douda into a save with an effort from distance, before a neat one-two between Mohamed Salah and Hazem Emam saw the latter test the Ghanaian keeper again.

It was a more secure Black Stars side that emerged from the break, with more intention of imposing their own game on the hosts. As a result the near-unopposed pressure from Egypt that had characterised the opening period subsided, with the previously fervent crowd losing much of their initial impetus too.

Aboutrika fired wide as the old master looked to conjure up some hope of a maiden World Cup appearance, but when Zaki exited with an injury the writing looked to be on the wall for all in Cairo. With 15 minutes remaining Gedo forced a save from Douda, before Daniel Opare had to be on hand to clear Mohamed Salah's follow-up off the line.

Gedo did double Egypt's score on the night, firing under Douda from inside the area, but with three still needed in the final six minutes, few were in doubt it was just a consolation goal.

When Boateng converted Asamoah Gyan's cross, it provided a moment for the small cluster of travelling to cheer ahead of the delight of the final whistle.

Ghana's head coach James Kwesi Appiah (above) celebrates with his team their victory over Egypt following their WC2014 African zone qualifier second leg in Cairo, on November 19, 2013. Ghana qualified

Egyptian player Hossam Ghaly (Red) congratulates Ghana's team on their victory

Egypt's player Mohamed Naguib (bottom) vies for the ball with Ghana's Kwadwo Asamoah (R) during their WC2014 qualifier. Securing their ticket to Brazil with a 7-3 aggregate win over Egypt.AFP PHOTO-KHALED DESOUKI's-player-Ramy-Rabia-L-fights-for-the-ball-with-Ghana's-player-Asamoah-Gyan.jpg

Egypt's player Ramy Rabia (L) fights for the ball with Ghana's player Asamoah Gyan

Michael Essien takes control of the midfield

Ghana's national football team's players pose before the start of the WC2014 African zone qualifier second leg play-off between Egypt and Ghana in Cairo

Egypt's player Mohamed Abdul-Shafy (R) challenges Ghana's Kwadwo Asamoah for the ball during their WC2014 African zone qualifier second leg. AFP PHOTO-KHALED DESOUKI

Ghana's national football team supporters cheer their team before the start of the WC2014 African zone qualifier second leg play-off between Egypt and Ghana in Cairo on November 19, 2013. AFP PHOTO-KHALED DESO

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