You could feel the sigh of relieve in the voice of Egypt coach Javier Aguiire at the post-match press conference after the Pharaohs defeated Uganda 2-0 to qualify to the round of 16 at the 2019 Total Africa Cup of Nations.
It was Egypt third win of the competition and they did it at the expense of a better Ugandan side especially inside the first 30 minutes of the game.
Emmanuel Okwi, Miya Faruku, Abdul Lumala and Allan Kyambadde all came close to giving Uganda the lead but were always denied by the ever-present Mohamed Elshenawy.
Two minutes to the break, Ahmed Elmohamady doubled Egypt’s lead through his off-target shot off a counterattack was deflected past Onyango by Wasswa.
And it wasn’t long before Egypt got their own opportunity when Hassan Wasswa fouled Mohamed Salah, who curled the resulting freekick past Denis Onyango in Uganda’s goal.
“We earned very important three points. We finished on top of our group with nine points and without conceding any goal,” Aguirre told journalist after the game.
“I was surprised by Uganda’s strong performance especially in the first half, they managed to control the game, and pressed us on multiple occasions.”
“However, we managed to score the first goal which paved the way for a second goal and allowed us to kill the game,” he added.
Egypt are chasing a record eighth African title, at the round of 16 they will play against the third best-placed team in either Group C, D or E.