Egypt opened their 2019 African Cup of Nations campaign with a narrow 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in a clash staged at the Cairo International Stadium on the early hours of Saturday 22 June.
As expected, it was a dominant start for Egypt with the host's nation pinging the ball around fast and sharp and penning their opponents into their own box. Mohammed Salah was to fire over a dangerous in-swinging cross from the right that was batted behind for a corner, and then goalkeeper Sibanda had to tip a looping header by Mohsen over the bar in the third minute.
Egypt’s early vim was to be subsided by Zimbabwe as the game went on but they were being undone by improper decision making going upfront with Billiat and Musona most of the time finding themselves with no one to help them.
The hosts were to take the lead in the 38th minute through Trezeguet. Musona was to lose possession midway inside his own half and then Trezeguet took over, collecting a pass as he ras into the left-hand side of the box before cutting past Hadebe and on to his right foot and curling the ball into the far corner; the goal proving to be the difference at half time.
Egypt was looking for a second goal and Zimbabwe waited to attack the counter in what was proving to be a balanced second half. Zimbabwe was to be forced to change their goalkeeper, as Sibanda who looked not to have fully recovered from an injury he suffered in an earlier collision with Mohsen, being replaced by Elvis Chipezeze on.
Zimbabwe had a perfect opportunity to restore parity three minutes from time when Chiwapawa sent in a lovely curling cross from the left, depositing the ball right on the head of Rusike but the latter could only head over from 10 yards in what was a huge left off for the hosts.
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