Egypt Wins Africa Cup of Nations
By Tom Sheldrick
Egypt secured a hat-trick of Africa Cup of Nations triumphs with a 1-0 win over Ghana in Luanda.
Super-sub Mohamed Gedo grabbed the winner – his fifth goal of the tournament – five minutes from time for the Pharaohs, who also took home the continental title in 2006 and 2008.
In many ways, it was a tale of two strikers.
Ghana’s talisman Asamoah Gyan scored the only goal of the game in both quarter- and semi-finals, but endured a frustrating final. Reduced to firing pot-shots from distance, he curled a delicate attempt over with 15 minutes remaining, and tested El Hadary in the Egypt goal with a well-struck free kick shortly afterwards. But substituted Gyan could only watch in despair from the dugout as the ball bobbled away from Eric Addo in the six yard box in the closing seconds, as the last chance of an equaliser evaporated.
Egypt’s Mohamed Gedo finished as the tournament’s top marksman, despite not having started a game. Ghana cannot say they weren’t warned about his liking for dying-moment goal-getting, Gedo’s previous four having come no earlier than the 81st minute. Introduced for Moteab in the 70th minute, he waited until the 85th before striking this time, playing a one-two with Mohamed Zidan and delightfully curling the ball into the far corner of the net with his right foot.
The first-half of the final was nervy and unattractive, the game finally coming alive midway through the second period. Egyptian captain Hassan had every right to ask the referee for a penalty after being pushed from behind, while Gerald Asamoah showed flashes of brilliance for the Black Stars. A young Ghana side gave their North African opponents a tough test, but rarely looked like hitting the back of the net.
Egypt now have seven Africa Cup of Nations triumphs, stretching back to victory in the inaugural event in 1957. They were comfortably the best side throughout the competition, ruthless in the group stages, fearless in an extra-time quarter-final win over Cameroon, and rampant in the semi-final against the fiercest of rivals, Algeria. The only shame is that Africa’s finest side will not be in South Africa for the World Cup in June.
Tom Sheldrick is a freelance writer and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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