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Mostafa Mohamed leads the way for Egypt to finish sweep of Libya

An efficient performance in the final third saw Egypt finish off an ideal week with a 3-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory over Libya, moving the Pharaohs to the brink of sealing qualification to the final round. A goal and assist from Mostafa Mohamed in the first half set the tone before a brilliant combination between Mohamed Salah and Ramadan Sobhi finished the scoring for the visitors, who made it look easy getting a win at the stadium of their neighbors. Egypt now lead Libya by four points in Group F, sitting on ten points with the knowledge that a win in their next match at Angola will finish the job of advancing out of the group.

The second matchup between the two sides threatened to be similar to the grinding and physical game seen earlier in the week based on the opening twenty minutes. Libya clearly wanted to keep the match low scoring and see if they could sneak a winner from a tightly contested duel, but the Egyptian side was much more effective moving the ball and finding lanes to attack. Omar Marmoush, hero from the 1-0 win in Cairo, nearly found the opener in the 21st minute when he was able to round Libya keeper Mohamed Nashnush but could not put his finish on target from a tough angle.

Towards the end of the first stanza, the Pharaohs made the crucial breakthrough. In the 39th minute, a lobbed ball into the Libyan box was knocked down by Salah towards the edge of the area. The pass from Salah was not ideal, but Mohamed did excellently to stretch out and trap the ball before knocking a touch over to onrushing left back Ahmed El Fotouh, who delivered a well struck shot past Nashnush into the far corner.

The goal forced Libya to come out more and try to attack, and on the stroke of halftime Egypt came up with an incisive attack to deal a crucial blow to the hosts. Abdallah Said drove forward in the attacking midfield and moved the ball out to Marmoush on the left wing, who quickly sent an inswinging diagonal cross towards Mohamed. Mohamed rose up and headed a perfect finish behind the moving Nashnush and just inside the post to make it 2-0.

After halftime the Libyans came to life and created a couple of opportunities through diminutive playmaker Muaid Ellafi. The Wydad Casablanca player curled in a cross from the left wing in the 54th minute but Ali Almusrati’s header went harmlessly over Mohamed Abougabal’s goal. Three minutes later, Ellafi was involved again with a ball played over the top into the corner for Mohamed Zubya. Zubya held up the ball and laid off for Espérance winger Hamdou Elhouni, who drove in along the end line before having his shot on goal denied by Abougabal from a difficult angle.

That was as close as Libya got, however, and Egypt put the match away with another lethal and efficient attack. In the 71st minute, Salah drove towards the penalty area and provided an exquisite through ball to find a running Sobhi. The substitute controlled well before flicking a clever finish over the advancing Nashnush to put the visitors beyond reach and finish off Libya.

Video of all three of Egypt’s goals are below.

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