Egypt put on a show of character and grit to come from behind to beat Morocco 2-1 in the quarterfinal match of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Sunday.
Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah and Aston Villa’s Mohamed Trazeguet cancelled out Sofianne Buofal’s first half goal to set up a semifinal bout with Cameroon, albeit, needing extra time.
Morocco scored early in the game through Boufal’s well taken penalty in the seventh minute, following a foul on Achraf Hakimi by Mohamed Ahmed Ashraf.
The Pharaohs nearly got an equalizer at 20 minutes but Omar Mohamed Marmoush’s effort from distance was denied by the alert Yasin Bounou with a great save.
The rest of the opening half was a mixture of lack of fluidity from the Egyptians and a play-it-safe tactic by the Moroccans, leaving it short of creativity and scoring opportunities.
Eight minutes after the restart, Salah levelled matters, slotting home a rebound after Bounou had superbly saved an Abdallah Mohamed shot.
Despite Egypt being dominant in possession and a threat from that moment, it’s Morocco who got the next clear cut goalscoring opportunity in the 80th minute.
Mohamed Gabaski, with some assistance from the goalpost, made an excellent save to deny Nayef Aguerd’s goal bound to leave the derby level.
In the 10th minute of extra time, Salah showed his class as he took on three defenders to set substitute, Trazeguet who kept his cool and slotted past Bounou to make it 2-1.
Morocco could not master chances for a leveller as the Pharaohs showed resilience to see out the entire 120 minutes.
Egypt will now play hosts, Cameroon in what promises a mouthwatering semi final encounter on February 3rd at the Olembe Stadium.
Egypt: Abou Gabaski(GK), Mohamed Ahmed, Ahmed Abdelmonem, Mohamed Elsoulia, Ahmed Hegazy, Mohamed Salah, Ayman Elsayed Elsambskani, Mostafa Ahmed Abdalla, Mohamed Elneny, Abdallah Mohamed, Omar Mohamed Marmoush
Substitutions: Hamdy Fathy, Mahmoud Hassan, Emam Abdelghany, Mohamed Sherif, Ahmed Abdelmonem, Mahmoud Ibrahim, Mohamed Sayed, Mahmoud Ahmed, Marwan Dawoud Suliman, Marwan Mehany
Morocco: Yasin Bounou (GK), Achraf Hakimi, Adam Masina, Sofyan Amrabat, Nayef Aguerd, Ghanem Saiss ©, Imran Louza, Ayoub El Kaabi, Selim Amallah, Sofiane Boufal, Youssef EN-Nesyri, Munir El Haddadi
Substitutions: Zakaria Aboukhalal, S. Alakouch, I. Chair, S.Chakla, M. Chibi, I.Louza, R. Mmaee, A.Ounahi