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Egypt come from two goals down in Angola to draw and clinch final stage spot in WCQ

Despite facing a hostile road environment in Luanda, Egypt came back from two goals down to draw Angola 2-2 in FIFA World Cup qualifying and earn a crucial point that wrapped up qualification to the final round and cemented their status as the winners of Group F. Mohamed Elneny and Akram Tawfik scored to cancel out Angolan goals from Hélder Costa and M’Bala Nzola in an inspired effort after the Pharaohs struggled coming out of the gate.

It was a feverish atmosphere in Luanda with a home crowd that brought the noise and passion with Mohamed Salah in town. In fact, during multiple occasions the match had to be stopped due to star struck fans running onto the pitch to take pictures with the Liverpool star. In addition to Egypt facing a partisan crowd, the Angola side brought in several European-based stars who were making their first or second appearances for the country.

Two of those new stars, former Portuguese international winger Hélder Costa and Birmingham City attacker Jérémie Bela, proved to be difference makers in the early stages. Bela fired the first warning shot in the 17th minute after cutting inside and unleashing a shot from distance that gave Egyptian goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy an early test. Ten minutes after, it was Costa’s turn to show his class. Petro de Luanda full back Eddie Afonso burst down the right flank and sent in a cross that the Egyptian defense deflected back towards the edge of the area, where Costa applied an excellent finish from twelve yards out past El Shenawy.

Later on in the first half, it only got worse for Egypt. In the 34th minute, young talent Zini embarked on a dribbling run on the left flank that took him close to the end line before he was taken down by Tawfik, causing the referee to award a penalty kick. Nzola made no mistake with a calm run up before sending the Al Ahly keeper the wrong way to convert his spot kick and make the score 2-0.

Egypt got a massive goal back just before halftime when Mohamed Sherif’s aerial ball over the top of the Angolan defense found Salah on the right flank, who sent a low cross in with the outside of his left boot. Elneny made a late run into the penalty area and applied an excellent finish to draw a goal back just before the break.

The visitors proceeded to dominate for a long stretch after the teams came out for the second half with Angola shaken by the impact of the Elneny goal. In the 59th minute, it was Egypt who scored again to equalize. Salah collected the ball centrally and moved it out to the right flank, where Tawfik was making a run forward. The Al Ahly player then hit a speculative shot from outside the penalty area that took an essential deflection, leaving Angola keeper Hugo Marques helpless as the ball settled in the back of the net.

Other than Tawfik’s equalizer, the second half was lacking in opportunities due to a combination of the pitch invaders slowing the rhythm of the match down and Egypt being effective at stalling the Angolan attack. Egypt held on to get the result they needed and are now beyond reach of Gabon, who they would have faced in a dramatic final day showdown if they had lost.

Highlights of the match are in the link below. Egypt are now four points beyond Gabon with their spot out of Group F sealed.

Highlights from FIFA TV


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