Mohamed Salah’s goal helped Egypt maintain top spot in Group G as the Pharaohs snatched a late draw against Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations qualifier played in Kaduna this evening.
Samson Siasia put out a team with an average age of 23 as he looked to utilize the youthfulness of the Super Eagles against the Pharoah. He handed a start to Oghenekaro Etebo in the absence of the suspended Ogenyi Onazi.
The Warri Wolves midfielder slotted in nicely alongside new Captain of the team Mikel Obi.
Ahmed El-Shennawi was called into action as he plucked out of the air Ahmed Musa’s cross comfortably. Nigeria’s Efe Ambrose carelessly lost the ball in midfield but the Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet failed to make good use it as the ball vies into touch.
The Celtic man was again at fault as he lost the ball this time to Mohamed Salah – the AS Roma star breezed past Geoffrey Oboabona and squared for Trezeguet who in turn played in Ahmed Hassan but his shot was hit straight at Carl Ikeme in goal for Nigeria.
At the other end Moses Simon cut inside an Egyptian defender but his right foot shot was saved by El-Shennawi. Ramy Rabia picked up the first yellow card of the encounter for pulling back Watford forward Odion Ighalo.
Amuzie Stanley who was having a hard time playing against Mohamed Salah on the left side of defense brought the on loan Chelsea star down with a clumsy challenge but escaped the booking of the referee.
Manchester City star, Kelechi Iheanacho strung into life as he picked the ball up from midfield and played a one-two with Moses Simon but the Gent winger had his cross charged down.
Musa hammered in a shot from 25-yards but it was well gathered by the Egyptian goalkeeper and on the stroke of half-time Kelechi Iheanacho’s well timed shot was palmed away for a corner as the first half ended goalless.
At the restart, Simon Moses picked up a yellow for a challenge on Salah. Ighalo nearly gave the Super Eagles the lead but his shot went agonizingly wide.
Ahmed Musa had a shot saved but the fans inside the Ahmadu Bello Stadium in Kaduna is sent into wide frenzy as Oghenekaro Etebo turned in a rebound after a shot from Kelechi Iheanacho came off the post to give the Samson Siasia side a 1-0 lead.
Iheanacho then made way for Aminu Umar. The Egyptians were not letting the Eagles off easily as they had a chance for an equalizer but Wolves shot stopper Carl Ikeme saved comfortably.
Arsenal ace Mohamed Elneny hit a 25-yard shot wide as the Pharoahs looked for a way back into the game. At the other end Ahmed Musa had a brilliant shot parried but Ighalo failed to connect with the rebound to extend the Eagles lead.
Ibrahim Salah was booked for a clumsy challenge on Simon Moses before the Gent winger was replaced by Alex Iwobi who marked his debut for Nigeria after England attempted to lure him away.
The 19-year-old Arsenal star immediately made his presence felt as he played in fellow substitute Victor Moses – the West Ham winger beat the goalkeeper but his shot was cleared off the line by the outstanding Omar Gaber.
However, It was heart break for the home fans as Egypt dangerman Mohamed Salah received a sumptuous pass and rolled the ball past Carl Ikeme in goal for Nigeria to level scores at 1-1.
Hector Cuper’s men finished the game in protest as they felt the referee ended it with Salah on the verge of scoring a second. The result leaves Egypt top of Group G with seven points while Nigeria is second with five points followed by Tanzania and Chad.