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Afsha penalty kick is enough for Egypt in Arab Cup win over Lebanon

A second half penalty kick from Mohamed Magi “Afsha” made the difference in Egypt’s 1-0 win over Lebanon at the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup on Wednesday, helping the Pharaohs to overcome poor finishing and avoid an embarrassing draw. Egypt move level with Algeria at the top of Group D on three points and it appears that the two North African sides are in good shape to easily progress to the knockout stages. Lebanon will take on Algeria next and hope to scrap a point off the heavy favorites.

Egypt dominated the match, but a stubborn and defensive Lebanese side kept the Egyptian attack frustrated for long stretches. Lebanon goalkeeper Mostafa Matar was forced into action on multiple occasions, but did well to come up with a couple of saves while benefiting from poor finishing by the favorites. Lacking European-based stars, an entirely domestic Egypt team still expected to win comfortably but were disappointed to go into halftime at 0-0 despite a handful of shots on target.

It was more of the same after the break and concern started to grow among Egyptian supporters that the goal would never come. In the 53rd minute, Al Ahly midfielder Amr El Solia provided an excellent pass to set up Ahmed Refaat, but the Future FC forward’s shot was well kept out by Matar with his left boot. The chances began to dry up for a frustrated Egypt with the Lebanese team gaining a bit of confidence as the second half wore on.

However, it was a clumsy move by the Lebanon defense that helped Egypt break the deadlock. Left back Ahmed El Fotouh cut into the Lebanese penalty area from the flank and went down under a rash challenge from Alexander Melki, who lazily stuck a foot out and tripped up the Zamalek player. The 71st minute penalty kick from Afsha was not of the highest standard, but had enough power to go in despite Matar getting a hand to the ball.

Egypt held on with relative ease for the three points, but supporters will be expecting a more decisive victory in the next match against Sudan. Highlights are in the button link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV


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