Record seven-time Africa Cup of Nations title holders Egypt
suffered a stunning 3-2 home loss to 10-man Central African
Republic Friday in a first round qualifier staged behind closed
The first leg result ended a 38-match unbeaten home run by the
Pharaohs since qualifying was introduced in 1965 and leaves them
in danger of elimination after the teams clash again on June 30
Despite the disadvantage of playing at a silent Borg El Arab
military stadium in Mediterranean city Alexandria, Egypt were
expected to build on an impressive World Cup qualifying triumph
in Guinea last weekend.
After Mohamed Zidan put the home team ahead on 10 minutes, his
blunder at the other end of the field allowed Hilaire Momi to
equalise before the visitors had Salif Keita sent off for a
Mohamed Salah atoned for several squandered scoring chances by
putting Egypt ahead again three minutes into the second half but
the home defence was caught napping just past the hour mark.
They reacted slowly after fouling Foxi Kethevoama, whose quick
free kick put Momi through for his second goal and David Manga
struck the winner for the Wild Beasts with 21 minutes left.
Egypt are now facing the grim prospect of missing a second
consective Cup of Nations tournament after finishing last behind
shock group winners Niger, South Africa and Sierra Leone in a
2012 qualifying pool.
Hassan Shehata, who guided the Pharaohs to three consecutive
African titles from 2006, quit before the end of that qualifying
campaign and was replaced by former United States coach Bob
All seem well for the American handler when his team defeated
Mozambique at home and Guinea away in World Cup eliminators this
month as the Pharaohs seek a third appearance at the finals.
While Egypt were winning in Conakry last Sunday, the Central
African Republic lost 2-0 away to Ethiopia, a result which
confirmed that the Beasts are usually much more formidable
opponents at home.
Algeria became the first country to qualify for the final
elimination round this September and October by outplaying Gambia
4-1 in Blida after building a 2-1 first-leg lead four months ago.
Foued Kadir and Islam Slimani had the Desert Foxes two goals
ahead within six minutes, Saidhou Gassama pulled one back before
half-time only for Slimani and El Arabi Soudani to score further
goals for the home side.