Egypt have surprisingly fell to Les Fauves and are now in a difficult situation in 2013 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying ahead of a ominous trip to Bangui at the end of the month
Two goals from Hilaire Momi and another from David Manga allowed the Central African Republic to overcome finishes from Mohamed Zidan and Mohamed Salah at the Borg El Arab stadium in Alexandria and earn an incredible away result in 2013 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifying.
Egypt controlled the majority of possession from the outset and the early pressure took just nine minutes to pay off. A typically incisive Mohamed Aboutrika through pass for Mohamed Salah allowed the Basel player to square a ball for a relatively simple Zidan finish. The visitors had an excellent opportunity to level the score immediately but Momi pulled his shot wide despite being one-on-one with Issam Al Hadhari.
Following the scare, Bob Bradley’s side retook control of the match and created yet more chances but a certain second goal was wasted when Salah selfishly elected to shoot from a tight angle, hitting the post, rather than pass to a wide-open teammate. The Pharaohs were made to rue their lack of efficiency on 25 minutes when Momi was put clear through on goal for a second time and successfully skipped past an onrushing Al-Hadhari to tap in Centrafrique’s equaliser.
Bringing the score level gave Herve Loungoudji’s men renewed vigour as they began to create more problems for the Egyptians on the counter-attack as evidenced by Momi’s long distance strike that narrowly missed the goal-frame. Nevertheless, their enthusiasm was dampened when reduced to 10 men when Salif Keita received his second bookable offence.
The second half began much as the first did but this time Salah was clinical, using his trusty left foot to score sublimely and slightly calm Egyptian nerves just two minutes into the period. Egypt’s advantage could have been doubled shortly thereafter but Salah pushed the ball to close to the Central African Republic’s goalkeeper.
Rather than wilt like many other sides would in the same situation, the visitors showed their determination, defending in numbers and launching forward to good effect. The tactic allowed Momi to equalise a second time on 61 minutes and Manga to give his compatriots a surprising lead following some fluid interplay between him and his playmaker.
Les Fauves’ comeback stunned the Pharaohs who struggled to respond and find openings in the opposition’s dense defence. Aboutrika came close to levelling but his powerful header was wide. Substitute Geddo also had a header but his was straight at Geoffrey Lembet and the game ended in favour of the visitors who are now well placed to deprive Egypt of their second successive Afcon participation ahead of the decisive leg in Bangui on June 30.