Egypt 2-0 Benin: The Pharaohs Finish Group Stage With Perfect Record

Egypt had already qualified for the quarter-finals but still picked up an impressive victory...
Before the game started the Pharaohs of Egypt already knew they were qualified for the next round, while Benin needed to win and hope for a Nigerian slip-up. Without their superstar Stephane Sessegnon, the Beninese would have to be very good, even against a second string Egyptian team.

Egypt came out highly motivated and started the game with a great deal of intensity while the Beninese resorted to long ball tactics.

Egypt didn't have to wait long for the opening goal of the match as Al Muhamadi dialed up a long distance effort and found the back of the net in the seventh minute.

That jewel of a goal was a terrible blow to the Squirrels as they now had to score twice in order to keep their hopes of progressing alive. But immediately after the goal, the Egyptians didn't show any sign of slowing down. Al Muhamadi, the goalscorer was tireless on the right side and tried to get his teammates involved whenever he could.

In the 21st minute, Al Muhamadi took control of the ball and then crossed it to Raouf at the far post who smashed it. Djidonou was on the ball's trajectory but he pushed it onto the post. The ball went along the line and Motaeb, trying to score in the nearly empty goal was countered by Djidonou, but the ball already passed the line.
With twenty minutes to go and two goals down, the Beninese teams looked beaten already and the match didn't seem to go any other way but towards an easy Egyptian victory. With apparently no will to stop the Pharaohs were trying to send a message to all their opponents and they showed how ready they were in this competition.

The rest of the first half looked the same way, with the Egyptians outrageously dominating the debate, and always trying to bring more rhythm into their game, maybe even a little too much. With many offside positions, they could have scored more than just the two. But with a 68% vs 32% possession in their favour, there wasn't anything Benin could have done to them.

At this point in the match, aside from Razak Omotoyossi fighting like a madman, the Benin team were more idle than anything. And despite having been given three more minutes of extra time, the referee blew the whistle in  the 46th minute.

Coming back from the locker room with one new player, the Beninese didn't seem that much more active as they learned the Nigerians were up two goals as well against Mozambique. Angan was replaced by Aoudou whose first ball was lost to Raouf.

The following minutes were pretty frustrating as the Egyptians seemed bored and the Beninese didn't seem skilled enough to cause them any worry. In the 55th minute, Mohamed Zidan came on for El Saka who had a pretty decent game himself.

That's the moment Emad Motab chose to speed things up. The very energetic midfielder took the game for himself and looked very well on his way to succeed. After a long race alone, he flicked the ball a little too low but could have scored his second goal of the day. A minute later, the ex-Al Ahly player, fell in the penalty area while fighting Adenon but the referee asked him to get back up.

In the 66th minute, the Beninese got their first dangerous free-kick of the day and Aoudou's header went out for a corner. That little glimpse of pride on the squirrels' side gave them a little fire and following that the same Aoudou was close to putting the ball in the back of the net in the 72nd minute while Omotoyossi flirted with the bar in the 75th minute.

In the 77th minute, the Egyptians switched goalkeepers as Essam El Hadari left his spot to Abdel Wahid El Sahed. The little beak gave the control of the game back to the Egyptians and notably Mohamed Zidan, who in the 81st minute was close to scoring a goal as well. His kick, sent out by Djidonou gave the Egyptians a corner-kick. And on that corner, Ahmed Hassan was given the ball directly but his strong attempt went over the bar.

Given three more minutes in the African Cup of Nations, the Beninese did their last substitution but even coach Michel Dussoyer sat back down on his bench and stopped giving instructions.

In the 91st minute, Mohamed Zidan , hungry to earn a spot later on in the competition followed through on a Motaeb action where the midfielder was injured and kept on going. But the ex-Hamburg player didn't score thanks only to an extraordinary Yoan Djidonou. The Benin keeper was the best Squirrel on the pitch, without a shadow of a doubt.

That was the last action of the game, the Pharaohs advanced along with Nigeria, to the quarter finals of the competition.