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AFCON U-20: Hosts Egypt lack cutting edge in sleepy draw against Mozambique

Hosts Egypt controlled play and possession but failed to break down a stingy Mozambique side in a scoreless Group A draw at the Cairo International Stadium to kick off the 2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations. A match with plenty of stoppages and little rhythm left Mozambique the happier side and with a first ever point in their history at the competition. Egypt will face Nigeria next on Wednesday and Mozambique have a matchup with Senegal up next.

Egypt came out with the intention to dominate the match and nearly found the Mozambique net twice in the opening twenty minutes. Following a short corner in the sixth minute, Ahmed Abdelhamid “Esho” sent in a left-footed cross from the right wing that hit the post as Mozambique goalkeeper João Fasistencio misjudged the flight of the ball. Fasistencio did better on the twenty minute mark when he reacted quickly to tip over an errant touch from central defender Aylton who attempted to make a play on Karim Eldebes’ cross.

The Mozambican team settled down after the jittery start and did excellently to disrupt Egyptian attacks. In the 53rd minute the Young Mambas came closest to scoring when a turnover from Egyptian defender Abdel Rashdan led to Edson Mucuana’s well hit shot from the edge of the penalty area. With Egypt keeper Mostafa Makhlouf beaten it was Rashdan who atoned for his error by covering back to head away Mucuana’s effort.

Egypt pushed for a late winner but the stubborn Mambas defense continued to frustrate the Young Pharaohs despite being camped in their own end for the final thirty minutes. Either way it will be much more difficult moving forward for both teams with group favorites Nigeria and Senegal ahead.

Highlights from the tournament opener are below.

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