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Last gasp equalizer from Mohamed helps Egypt escape Franceville with a point

Gabon thought they had an important home win wrapped up against an uninspiring Egypt side, but Les Panthères lost their focus and conceded late on to allow the Pharaohs to snatch a point in FIFA World Cup qualifying on Sunday. Galatasaray striker Mostafa Mohamed cancelled out Jim Allevinah’s excellent opening goal to put Egypt top in Group F and wrap up Gabon’s two opening games with only a point to show.

The match was a close battle throughout with clear looks at the goal few and far between. Neither team was able to register a shot on target in the first half as Gabon came closest through Aaron Boupendza’s blast over the bar from a sharp angle in the 27th minute. Mohamed Salah was on the pitch for Egypt following a lengthy dispute over his availability between the national team and Liverpool FC, but Salah was largely ineffective and held in check.

Gabon’s ambition increased after the halftime break. In the 50th minute, Egypt and Al Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy was forced into action when Andre Biyogho Poko curled a splendid ball for Boupendza, who took it down and advanced on goal but could not curl his shot past the charging El Shenawy. Urgency in the match picked up when Egypt midfielder Omar Gaber picked up a mindless second yellow card in the 70th minute for coming in late on Denis Bouanga, putting Egypt down to ten players.

Only a couple of minutes later, Egypt paid the price for Gaber’s rash challenge. Substitute Jim Allevinah initiated a combination play starting from the corner of the Egyptian penalty area, passing to Poko and making a run towards the goal. Poko’s return pass was precise to allow Allevinah to collect and poke a quick shot past El Shenawy inside the far post.

However, the Gabonese defense let their guard down at a crucial time late on. In the 90th minute a hopeful long ball was launched towards substitute forward Salah Mohsen. Two Gabonese defenders went to challenge Mohsen, which left Mostafa Mohamed wide open as Mohsen won the aerial challenge and flicked his header to send Mohamed through on goal. Goalkeeper Anthony Mfa Mezui got a hand to tap the lofted shot into the air, but Mohamed followed up and beat defender Didier Ndong to the ball to head into the empty net and spark jubilant celebrations.

Highlights of the match are in the link below.

FIFA TV Highlights

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