19 June 2018

Egypt: Final Nail in the Sarcophagus for Egyptian Pharaohs

Photo: SABC screenshot
Egypt vs Russia

Cape Town — I bet half the continent was feeling hopeful that Senegal's dramatic win over Poland would bode well for the North African royals and with their gamechanger Mo Salah back in the starting line-up after recovering from his shoulder injury, things seemed to be looking up.

Despite having never won a game in their history at the World Cup, they were hoping to break the curse and go through to the next round of 16.

Group A, consisting of Russia, Uruguay, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, saw Russia emphatically taking down Saudi Arabia 5-0 in what was a dream start for the 2018 hosts. It went down in World Cup history as one of the biggest opening routs.

Egypt narrowly missed out on victory in a 1-0 defeat to South Americans Uruguay.

Egyptian coach Héctor Cúper has been in charge for three years and has guided the team to their first World Cup since Italy 1990, according to commentators.

The stadium seemed to be filled to capacity with a boisterous and energetic home crowd spurring the hosts on.

Both captains have over 100 caps each which meant loads of experience to steer their respective ships.

Russia got off to a cracking start with strong and confident attacking play. Egypt seemed to have the jitters and struggled to settle down until after the first 15 minutes or so. Soon after, Trezegeut almost scored a beauty for Egypt but missed the posts by a small margin.

Defensive efforts on both sides were solid despite numerous shots at goal by both teams. Russia was not giving Salah much space to work his magic and Cheryshyev and Gazinksy were key to the Russian attack.

The end of the first half saw neither side hitting the back of the net.

It all happened in the second half though.

It started with intensity and a fumble in front of goal saw Egypt's captain Ahmed Fathi concede an own goal in his 129th appearance for his nation. It all went south for the Egyptians from thereon out.

The 59th minute saw Chershev score to make it his third goal in the tournament, making him one of leading scorers thus far. Seconds later Dzyuba found the back of the net to break Egyptian hearts with a 3-0 scoreline.

There was some consolation for the Pharaohs when in the 72nd minute Salah was fouled inside the box leading to a penalty. Finally Salah got to taste his first goal of the World Cup and Egypt's first goal since 1990.

The last minutes of the game saw frenetic activity by the Egyptians trying to salvage it, but alas it was not to be.

Russia tops the group with 8 goals and Egypt may as well pack their bags and head home.

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