30 June 2012

Africa: Egypt Crashes Out of 2013 Africa Cup of Nations

Central African Republic pulled one of the biggest surprises in African football by knocking out Egypt out of the 2013 Orange Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Les Fauves advanced to the final round of the qualifiers of next year's tournament after holding the seven-time winners to a 1-1 draw at a packed-Barthélémy Boganda Stadium in Bangui on Saturday.

Central African Republic, yet to reach the finals of any major continental championship marched on 4-3 on aggregate after a shocking 3-2 win over the Pharaohs in Alexandria a fortnight ago.

Egypt, who missed out on the 2012 Orange Africa Cup of Nations held earlier in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea would have to sit out once again from the flagship African football tournament.

This represents the worst record for the Pharaohs in the history of the biennial tournament as it will be the first time they have failed to qualify for successive editions. In 1965 and 1968 champions, Egypt withdrew from the competition but have since gone on to become the most decorated team, winning seven titles overall, including a hat-trick from 2006 to 2010.

Egypt needed nothing short of a two -goal margin victory to oust Les Fauves, but was unlucky to have conceded first after hosts captain Foxi Kéthévoama, headed past Essam Al-Hadary on 23 minutes.

The visitors, who made changes to their squad with starting berths for Emad Meteb, Hossam Ghaly, Ahmed Fathi and Sayed Moawad responded well; but found Les Fauves backline too tight to penetrate.

Luck finally smiled at them on 77 minutes as Meteb restored parity from close range, but it was all they could fight for as Les Fauves advanced into the final round.

Central African Republic completes the 30-team list ahead of the draw for the final round scheduled for July 5 in Johannesburg.

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