Egypt defeat Zimbabwe in first game at 2019 AFCON
London, June 22, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Hosts Egypt started their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON 2019)) on a good note with lone goal victory over Warriors of Zimbabwe in the opening game of the tournament in Cairo.
Mahmoud Trezeguet scored the only goal of the match with a curled finished just before half time.
Liverpool forward Mo Salah came close to doubling his side’s lead in the second half but his low drive was kept out by Zimbabwe keeper Edmore Sibanda.
Ovidy Karuru had Zimbabwe’s best chance with a 30-yard strike late in the encounter.
This year’s tournament, AFCON 2019 is the biggest Africa Cup of Nations ever with 24 teams, and the first to be played in Europe’s summer.
It got off to a spectacular start, with the fans inside the 75,000 capacity Cairo International Stadium treated to an eye-catching opening ceremony that featured giant pyramids on the pitch, elegant dancers forming the shape of a pharaoh’s face and culminating in a huge fireworks display.
But the game itself failed to match that level of sparkle, with Egypt dominating for large periods without troubling Sibanda in the Zimbabwe goal often. Yet it was mission accomplished for the hosts. They started this match with real vibrancy but soon ran out of ideas against a well organised and very tidy Zimbabwe side.
Both teams lacked sharpness up front – even Salah was a little below par despite being heavily involved – but the game’s one piece of clinical play was the difference between the sides.
Trezeguet’s nicely taken goal gave Egypt maximum points. They leave the pitch with the knowledge that they will need to perform better to win this tournament, while Zimbabwe leave with no points but the conviction that they are a decent unit who could yet get out of this group. NAN