The Egyptian national team defeated Mali in Dubai yesterday in their final friendly match before traveling to Angola where they will begin their title defense against Nigeria on the 12th of January. Pharaohs’ coach Hassan Shehata started most of his regulars while his counterpart, Stephen Keshi, opted to go for a young experimental lineup.
The Malians came close to scoring in the early going but
Tenema N’Diaye’s header was brilliantly saved by Essam El Hadari. Egypt
responded through Mohamed Zidan but the Dortmund striker couldn’t properly exploit
a clever pass by Ahly midfielder Ahmed Hassan.
The first half saw a flurry of chances but none found the
back of the net. Hossam Ghaly, a recent returnee to the Egyptian national team,
thought he had put his team ahead at one point but his goal was ruled offside
by the match official.
Much of the second half action was constrained to the middle
of the pitch as both sides struggled to find continuity in their play. On 66
minutes, substitute Mohamed Nagy Geddo hit the opener from distance after
dribbling past an onrushing opponent and unleashing a powerful shot on goal.
Mali dominated the closing minutes of the game but were
unable to find an equalizer even though they were awarded a penalty kick when
Abdulzaher Al Saqqa fouled an opponent in the box. Abdoulaye Traore scored his
first attempt but the referee made him take it again due to a team-mates
infringement and his second shot clanged off the crossbar.
Rami Ayari, Goal.com