The Pharaohs of Egypt registered their first win in the Orange Africa Cup of Nations Morocco 2015 qualifiers courtesy a convincing 2-0 victory over Botswana in their Group G clash in Gaborone on Friday.
Egypt went into the game knowing that nothing but victory will keep their hopes of qualification a reality. The visitors started the game with intent and called Zebras goalie Kabelo Dambe to test in the opening minutes.
Swiss-based midfielder Mohamed El-Neny was making a nuisance of himself in the middle of the park but they could not convert their chances.
Both teams fought for the all elusive goal that would ease their nerves but Egypt were guilty of non-conversion despite having the lion's share of possession in the first half.
The second half saw Botswana coach Peter Butler bring on Leutlwetse Tshireletso and Thato Ogopotse for Obuile Ncenga and Lemponye Tshireletso respectively, a move which opened their play in midfield.
On 56 minutes, El-Neny broke the deadlock with a stunning shot that beat Dambe to stun the home crowd.
Egypt were on the ascendency and attacked Botswana with purpose and dominated proceedings at the middle. Chelsea midfielder, Mohamed Salah and El-Neny linked up well keeping the Botswana backline on their toes.
Botswana was pressed back for the majority of the game and they were often guilty of unconvincing clearances. In the 62nd minute, the Pharaohs interchanged passes in the edge of the box and the ball fell to Salah who slotted past Dambe for Egypt's second.
The Pharaohs had The Zebras on the back foot and continued with the pressure as the host resorted to playing on the counter. Botswana created chances but were unable to convert them.
In his post-match interview, Peter Butler conceded that the Egyptians were a class above them.
“They got better players than us. We will regroup tomorrow (Saturday) for the return leg in Cairo. We will go there and scrap to bring something,” Butler said.
On his part, Egypt coach Shawky Gharib said “I'm happy with the win today, and we want to continue. The players did exactly what I told them.”
Egypt now has three points and hosts Botswana in the return clash on Wednesday in Cairo.