Egypt got their 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations campaign underway with massive three points after a 1-0 victory against Zimbabwe at a fully packed Cairo International Stadium in the Egyptian capital.
The only goal that gave the Pharaohs hope at home came from a fine strike by Kasimpasa striker Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim Hassan, commonly known as Trezeguet in the 41st minute of the game.
It was a solo effort from the 24-year-old forward who relieved Javier Aguirre’s men, Egypt had had most of their attempts saved by Zimbabwe’s custodian, Edmore Sibanda.
The seven-time champions started with four forwards in Mohammad Salah, El Said Bekhit, Marwan Mohsen and Trezeguet indicating signs that they can get goals from all the four forwards.
Zimbabwe’s defense approached the game with most of their attention on Salah and he was tight marked throughout, however he wasn’t the man of the occasion.
Bekhit, Mohsen and goal scorer Trezeguet all had scoring opportunities though they were not on target and others were saved by Sibanda.
The hosts also illustrated a high degree of disciplined in defence which consisted of Mahmoud Alaa and Ahmed Hegazi as their center halves, the two were calm and always on point.
Ahmed Ayman Mansour and Ahmed El Mohamady on the left and right flanks respectively also put a foot wrong on the day.
However, Egypt who take on DR Congo in their second group game on Wednesday June 26th, will need to be sharper in front of the goal because one goal may not be enough for them on another day.
Their two holding midfielders in Tarek Hamed and Mohamed Elneny will also need to up their game in order, provide enough defensive cover for the four defenders.
Generally, Egypt will need to double their efforts in their remaining games as they are aiming to claim their eight AFCON title on home soil as their performance against Zimbabwe was below par despite a win.
Taking nothing away from them, Zimbabwe were gallant in the entire game and full of endeavor but they lacked the cutting edge in their quest for a breakthrough.