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Salah saves Egypt late to break Bissau-Guinean hearts

A 69th minute strike from Egypt and Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah lifted the Pharaohs to a 1-0 victory over Guinea-Bissau in Garoua on Saturday at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. Salah’s goal gives Egypt their first three points in Cameroon and moves them into second place in Group D, but the performance continued to be unconvincing. Despite having the better of play for stretches, Guinea-Bissau will now need a victory against Nigeria to have have any hope of playing in the Round of 16.

It appeared that Egypt would silence the critics early on but the woodwork denied them on two occasions. In the 2nd minute, Salah collected a pass at his favorite spot on the right wing just outside the Guinea-Bissau penalty area and found room to get a shot through, beating goalkeeper Jonas Mendes but not the near post. Mostafa Mohamed’s shot found its way past Mendes as well in the 18th minute, but he also hit the post after being set up by Omar Marmoush.

Amr El Solia returned to the starting lineup for Egypt and his presence would be a game changing factor. The Al Ahly midfielder nearly opened the scoring just before halftime but his shot from 30 yards out took a slight deflection as it went just wide. Going into halftime on level terms energized the Guinea-Bissau team and had Egyptian supporters fearing the worst.

Egyptian fears were confirmed as the Djurtus took the match to the favorites for a decent stretch after halftime. Guinea-Bissau left back Fali Candé sent a free kick over from just outside the Egyptian penalty area in the 56th minute before sending in a dangerous cross a minute later, but nobody in the Djurtus attack could apply the finishing touch. Egypt finally wrestled back control of the match, however, and finally found their breakthrough. El Solia chipped a brilliant pass from outside the penalty area to find Salah peeling off a defender before he volleyed past Mendes.

Egypt should have won by more and their wastefulness nearly cost them. Substitute Ahmed Sayed “Zizo” had the entire goal to shoot in the 75th minute when right back Omar Kamal picked the Zamalek player out with a cross, but Zizo volleyed off the post. Guinea-Bissau appeared to have a magical equalizer in the 82nd minute, but after Mama Baldé sent a scorching shot past Egyptian keeper Mohamed El Shenawy, the forward was judged by the Video Assistant Referee to have pulled Kamal back as he surged by the defender.

Guinea-Bissau had one more look at goal in the final seconds when a hopeful ball was knocked down to Moreto Cassamá, but the midfielder’s shot was pushed away by El Shenawy. Highlights of the match are below.

69′- Salah puts Egypt into the lead

82′- Excellent strike from Mama Baldé ruled out by VAR

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