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Olympics

  • July 29, 2012
  • • 12:00
  • • Old Trafford, Manchester
  • Referee: M. Clattenburg
  • • Attendance: 50050
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Egypt 1-1 New Zealand: Salah cancels out Wood opener as both sides claim first point of Olympics

Egypt 1-1 New Zealand: Salah cancels out Wood opener as both sides claim first point of Olympics

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It was honours even in an entertaining game in Manchester after the West Brom striker had given The Kiwis a shock lead, before the impressive Salah grabbed a deserved equaliser

Egypt and New Zealand claimed their first points of the tournament in Group C, with a hard-fought draw at Old Trafford.

The All Whites fielded an unchanged side from that which narrowly lost to Belarus in the opening game, whilst tricky winger Mohamed Salah was the only new face to feature from the off for Egypt.

Hany Ramzy's side started the game as they had finished their last, with fluidity in their passing and confidence on the ball. The wet conditions seemed to favour them early on, and Salah had the first effort of the game on six minutes, hitting a tame shot straight at Michael O'Keefe.

New Zealand, as expected, set up defensively and seemed content to concede a decent amount of possession to their opponents.

The North Africans' movement was a constant problem for New Zealand, but the first true goal scoring opportunity didn't come until 13 minutes, when a cut back found Mohammed Aboutrika in acres of space. His first time shot was hit horribly wide.

But with their first attack of the game, against the run of play, it was New Zealand who took the lead.

Set pieces would always be a key feature of their play, and having won a corner, Michael McGlinchey's cross was well met by Tommy Smith, who nodded the ball down for West Brom's Chris Wood to tap home on 17 minutes.

Their opponents immediately went in search of an equaliser, with Fathy and El Nenny hitting efforts at the goalkeeper. Egypt's attacking threat was evident every time they approached the New Zealand backline.

Mohamed Salah, by far Egypt's most influential player, appeared to have been granted a license to play anywhere across the frontline by manager Hany Ramzy.

His effort on the half hour mark was blocked by the New Zealand defence, before cutting inside and hitting a shot just wide of O'Keefe's goal, moments after he had saved well from Gomaa.

But they soon got their reward through Salah. Aboutrika crossed from the edge of the box, and despite a hint of offside, the youngster finished well to claim a deserved equaliser.

Straight from the kick off, The Pharoahs won the ball back and should have taken the lead. Another great ball by Aboutrika was met by Emad Moteab, who headed wide when it was easier to score, leaving the sides level at the break.

They started the second-half in similar fashion, Aboutrika going close with a volley from a corner. New Zealand seemingly realised that continuing to sit back would lead to an inevitable Egypt goal, and too looked to venture forward more.

Salah's jinking runs were too much for the Kiwis to deal with at times, and their defence suffered another setback when Hogg went down with a knee problem and had to be replaced by Musa.

With half an hour remaining, the second-half was continuing in a similar pattern to the first, with Egypt dominating possession but facing a disciplined New Zealand back four, who had kept their shape impressively.

Neil Emblen's side again looked to strike from set pieces, in order to make the most of their height advantage, and looked for Wood on several occasions.

But when their second corner of the game was easily cleared, an Egypt counter attack reached Fathy, who shot across goal but wide of the post.

Chances were few and far between in the second period, although New Zealand began to ask more questions of their opponents.

McGlinchey found himself with a great opening as he burst through the midfield and on to a cross from Rojas, but his difficult diving header was at a perfect height for Al Shenawy.

The game was there for the taking going into the final ten minutes, with both sides needing a win to avoid probable elimination, and opportunities presented themselves at either end.

Fathy looked certain to seal a late victory for The Egyptians when he was slipped through by Aboutrika, but his hesitation cost him the chance as Nelsen rushed back to take the ball from the midfielder.

Egypt continued to press for the all important winner, but Salah's cross eluded everyone in the box and fizzed past O'Keefe's post, as the game looked destined for a draw.

But there was to be one final chance. Emad Moteab found space in the box, kept his calm, and with Egypt's 27th shot of the day, somehow shot over.

It was an amazing climax to the game, with both teams looking like taking the three points but ended a draw and probably the fair result, as the two side's took their first points of the Games.

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