Egypt reach last eight, Morocco await in q-finals

PORT GENTIL (Gabon) • Mohammed Salah blasted home a free kick to give Egypt a 1-0 win over Ghana and top place in Group D as the first round of Africa Cup of Nations matches ended on Wednesday.

Salah's rasping 10th-minute strike allowed Egypt to leapfrog their opponents in the group. They finished on seven points, one more than Ghana.

The Pharaohs, who have won the competition a record seven times, will play Morocco in the quarter-finals in Port Gentil on Sunday, while Ghana travel to Oyem to face the Democratic Republic of Congo on the same day.

Egypt might have had a two-goal advantage at half-time after Ghana goalkeeper Razak Brimah's sloppy clearance went straight to Marwan Mohsen but the striker could not keep his shot down.

Stout defending kept Ghana at bay in the second half, with veteran Essam El Hadary doing well in goal to deny Christian Atsu's powerful strike and another from Jordan Ayew one minute from time.

It was the third successive clean sheet for Egypt who are playing in the tournament after a seven-year absence.

The wait was much longer for Uganda, whose last Cup appearance was back in 1978.

They scored their first goal at the event in 39 years as they bowed out after a 1-1 draw against Mali in Group D.

Uganda took a deserved lead after the break when Farouk Miya collected ball just outside the area and fired into the top corner.

Mali equalised soon after when Yves Bissouma scored with an even more impressive effort, a 30-metre free kick which flew into the net and left Uganda goalkeeper Robert Odongkara rooted to the spot.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 27, 2017, with the headline 'Egypt reach last eight, Morocco await in q-finals'. Print Edition | Subscribe