Egyptian coach Ehab Galal was relieved to emerge with a narrow 1-0 victory on his competitive debut as the Pharaohs defeated Guinea in Cairo to start their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with three points in Group D. Substitute Mostafa Mohamed found the winner late on to disappoint the visiting Guineans, who had their opportunities to take the lead and will be disappointed to leave with no points.
Egypt came out poised to attack and assert themselves at home, having the majority of first half chances as Guinea stayed organized and prevented any clear looks on goal. Playmaker Ahmed Sayed “Zizo” had the first look in the 3rd minute when Egypt left back Aymen Ashraf tackled the ball over to the Zamalek star on the left wing but after cutting inside Zizo blasted over the bar. Guinea goalkeeper Ibrahim Koné had a steady performance, confidently claiming aerial balls and denying a header from Mahmoud Hamdy as well as a free kick from Omar Marmoush.
Guinea continued to compete well on the road in the second half and had a couple of excellent chances to shock the home crowd after escaping an early opportunity caused by a Mohamed Salah free kick. In the 54th minute a poor giveaway by Egypt created space for a Guinean attack and Aguibou Camara passed centrally to find a wide open Thierno Barry whose shot from the edge of the area went just wide with Pharaohs keeper Gabaski clearly beaten.
On 82 minutes the Syli National had another excellent look when Naby Keïta picked out a wide open Amadou Diawara but the AS Roma midfielder did not strike his first-time effort cleanly and the ball rolled wide. The visitors would pay for their wastefulness late on when Egypt found a fortuitous winner. In the 87th minute substitute Ibrahim Adel go to the end line on the left wing and put in a low cross that the Guinean defense failed to clear and Mostafa Mohamed’s shot deflected off center back Mouctar Diakhaby and past Koné for a winner to relive the home support.
Highlights from Cairo are below. Egypt will travel to Lilongwe, Malawi to face Ethiopia in their next match while Guinea host Malawi in Conakry for an important matchup between two teams expected to compete for second place in the group.