Thu, Mar 28, 2013 - Page 18 News List

World Cup: Egypt snatch dramatic win, maintain perfect record

AFP, JOHANNESBURG

Zimbabwe goalkeeper Washington Arubi, left, makes a save against Egypt’s Mohamed Salah in their World Cup qualifier at Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria, Egypt, on Tuesday.

Photo: Reuters

Mohamed Abou Trika converted a penalty to earn Egypt a dramatic 2-1 home victory over Zimbabwe on Tuesday in a World Cup qualifier.

The veteran midfielder netted two minutes from time in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria after Hosny Abd Rabou had put Egypt ahead midway through the second half and Knowledge Musona equalized.

Abd Rabou scored from a free-kick and Musona off a long-range shot, before Mohamed Salah was tripped and United Arab Emirates-based Abou Trika calmly slotted the ball past Washington Arubi.

The authorities allowed 10,000 spectators to watch the game in the 90,000-seat Borg El Arab Stadium after recent games involving the national team were staged behind closed doors because of post-Arab Spring security concerns.

Riots following a national league game in Port Said 13 months ago led to 74 supporters of Cairo club al-Ahly being killed and a subsequent ban on domestic soccer was lifted only this year.

The success maintained the perfect record of the Pharaohs in Group G, with nine points from three matches after they defeated Mozambique at home and Guinea away in June last year.

Zimbabwe, who were playing their first competitive match under German coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels, were defeated at home by Guinea and drew away to Mozambique in the opening rounds.

Second-placed Guinea have four points, with Mozambique on two and Zimbabwe on one halfway through the six-round qualifying competition, after which the group winners will advance to the final, five-tie phase later this year.

Algeria replaced Mali as Group H leaders on goal-difference after two second-half goals secured a 3-1 victory over previously unbeaten Benin in Blida, south of the capital city Algiers.

All but the stoppage-time Islam Slimini goal were scored by players born in France, with Sofiane Feghouli putting Algeria ahead on 10 minutes and Rudy Gestede leveling midway through the first half.

Saphir Taider, born in Castres to a Tunisian father and an Algerian mother, giving him the option of declaring his international allegiance to one of three countries, regained the lead for the Desert Foxes on the hour mark.

Benin, who have never come close to reaching the World Cup finals, had goalkeeper Fabien Farnulle red-carded, before Slimani made sure of a home victory two minutes into stoppage-time.

Algeria and Mali have six points each, Benin four and only Rwanda with one appear out of the reckoning to top the final standings.

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