The Pharaos opened their 2023 Afcon Qualification battle with a hard-fought late 1-0 over their Group D rivals, Guinea at their home, Cairo International Stadium on Sunday evening.

It was billed as the Mohamed Salah vs Naby Keita but somewhat fortuitous late strike from the substitute Galatasary player, Mustafa Mohamed means Egypt join the Flammable Flames who survived Ethiopia’s scare (2-1 earlier in the day) at the top of the Group D standings on three points each.

Guinea opted for a high press and succeeded in disrupting Pharaohs’ passing football, preventing them from enjoying any kind of dominance.

The first 45 minutes came to a close with teams locked at 0-0.

Substitute Mohamed who plays in Turkey ended the deadlock with only three minutes left on the clock with a heavy shot that Guinea’s defender, Mouctar Diakhaby deflected beating goalminder, Ibrahim Kone.

The result will be a relief for Egypt and the new coach Ehab Galal, as they look to shrug off their back-to-back disappointments after losing Afcon final in February against Senegal and missing out on 2022 World Cup Qualification the following month.

The two teams will return to Group D action on Thursday, June 9 with Egypt travelling to Lilongwe, Malawi to face Ethiopia and Guine will be at home against the re-emerging giants, Malawi.

Egypt: Gabasaki, Gaber, Ibrahim, Hamdi, A. Ashraf, El Solia, Fathi, Ashour (M. Ashraf 74’), Zizo (M. Mohamed 65’), Salah, Marmoush (Adel 74’)

Guinea: Kone, Conte (I. Cisse 80’), Diakhaby, Sow, Sylla, Moriba (Y. Barry 90+1’), Diawara, Keita, T. Barry (S. Cisse 66’), A. Camara (Dansoko 90+1’), Guirassy.

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