Egypt into last Cup of Nations eight, Nigeria edge closer
By Nick Reeves (AFP) LUANDA — Egypt extended their record Africa Cup of Nations run to 14 games without defeat when securing their quarter-final berth with a 2-0 win over Mozambique on Saturday.
“We are very proud of this record,” said Egypt skipper Ahmed Hassan. “But most importantly, we won today against a very strong Mozambique.”
Earlier, in the first leg of Saturday’s double header from Benguela, Nigeria moved closer to joining the champions in the last eight with a 1-0 defeat of Benin.
Egypt went ahead after Dario Khan scored an own-goal – for the second successive game here in Angola – one minute after the restart.
Substitute Mohamed ‘Gedo’ Nagy put the game beyond doubt in the 81st minute to ensure The Pharaohs’ progress.
Egypt, who cannot be dislodged from top spot in Group C, join competition favourites Ivory Coast, who assured their qualification from Group B 24 hours earlier.
Mozambique’s Dutch coach, Mart Nooij, commented: “We made it very hard for Egypt, who are the reigning African champions.
“We gave away a goal early in the second half and so had to chase the game, otherwise it would have been a lot more difficult for them to beat us.”
After their opening loss to champions Egypt, Nigeria went into their game with enormous pressure on their shoulders, and duly netted the match winner after 42 minutes.
Everton striker Yakubu Aiyegbeni was the man on the spot, converting the penalty awarded after Romuald Boco handled a goal-bound header by Osaze Odemwingie.
The goal atoned for Yakubu’s miss earlier in the first-half, when put through on goal by Kalu Uche after 15 minutes, the big striker drilled his shot from inside the box inches away from the target with goalkeeper Rachad Chitou beaten.
This was Nigeria’s third win in as many Nations Cup clashes with their neighbours and it moves the Eagles up to second on three points.
The result cost Benin striker Razak Omotoyossi 25,000 dollars after he struck a private wager on the game with his best friend, Nigerian striker Obafemi Martins.
“It was a tough match, we did not expect anything less because there are no longer small teams,” said Nigeria coach Shuaibu Amodu.
“We are the more experienced of the two teams and we needed this game more. We won and that has now built confidence in the team after we lost our first match.”
Benin skipper Damien Chrysostome said his team had been unfortunate.
“We were unlucky because we hit the bar twice. We tried what we could but at the end we lost. That is the reality,” he said.
Sunday’s action from Lubango features Gabon against Tunisia with Cameroon taking on Zambia.