Egypt started their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifications campaign on a winning note. The Pharaohs defeated Mozambique 2-0 on Friday night in Group G’s opening fixture that was played at the Alexandria Burg El Arab Stadium, thanks to second half strikes from defender Mahmoud Fathalla and substitute Mohamed Zidan. The game was held behind closed doors for security reasons. The result marked the fourth win for Egypt over Mozambique in as many international games, all with the same 2-0 score line.
Egypt’s American manager Bob Bradley fielded some new faces in his teams’ starting list. Ahmed Temsah, Mohamed Salah and Mohamed el Nenny all had their first full international caps. Egypt attacked from the start, and it had the first attempt on goal came in the 4th minute when El Nenny sent his shot wide. The attacking combination of veteran Mohamed Abou Treika and the U-23 forward Mohamed Salah was a threat to Mozambique’s defence and the visitors had Joao Rafael in their goal standing firm as Egyptians threatened.
Salah’s shot after 13 minutes should have given Egypt the lead but Rafael was there once again. With the passage of time the visitors gained more confidence in their build-ups but without imposing any major threat on Egyptian goalkeeper and captain Essam El Hadary. The first half ended goaless.
Bradley made his first substitution after the break bringing on German based striker Mohamed Zidan for Mohamed Nagy “Geddo”. The Pharaohs took the lead on the 55th minute when defender Mahmoud Fathalla followed Hegazy’s cross before knocking it home. Seven minutes later, Ahmed Temsah fed Zidan inside the box and the Mainz striker’s shot was pushed to the post by Rafael only for the rebound to deflect off the keeper’s head into the net.
The Pharaohs started feeling confident, and Bradley made two substitutions in midfield to preserve his team’s lead, fielding in Ibrahim Salah and Ashour El Taqy for Temsah and Hosni Abd Rabu. Egypt held on their lead till the final whistle.
Egypt will now head to Guinea for their Day 2 fixture next weekend, while Mozambique will play hosts to Zimbabwe in the other group G fixture.