Egypt slump to brink of African elimination

Reigning champions all but out of next year's Africa Cup of Nations after being held to a 0-0 draw by South Africa.

    The seven-time champions left the field to jeers from their own supporters after the match [AFP]

    Defending champions Egypt were all but eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying rounds after being held to a 0-0 draw by South Africa in Cairo on Sunday.

    The Pharaohs have failed to win a single match in their qualifying group and languish last in the standings with only the remotest of chances of salvaging their situation. 

    Seven-time title holders Egypt have won the last three Nations Cup titles but left the field to jeers from their supporters.

    Subdued

    Although South Africa spent more time defending than attacking at a subdued Military Academy Stadium, they created the best chances but Katlego Mphela and Tlou Segolela failed to score when one-on-one with goalkeeper Essam al-Hadary.

    Veteran Al-Hadary became so frustrated with the failure of his team-mates to translate plentiful possession into goals that he ventured up the field with the ball late in the second half.

    However, he was dispossessed and relieved to see a long range lob from rival captain Siphiwe Tshabalala - standing in for injured midfielder Steven Pienaar - finish well off target.

    Defender Ahmed al-Mohamady came close twice for Egypt in the opening half, heading a cross over from point-blank range and having a shot from well inside the penalty area held at the second attempt by impressive Itumeleng Khune.

    South Africa lead Group G with eight points followed by Niger (six), Sierra Leone (five) and Egypt (two) with two rounds to be played in September and October.

    Drogba double

    Results & fixtures

    Friday June 3
     Ghana 3-1 Congo

    Saturday June 4
     Uganda 2-0 Guinea-Bissau
     Zambia 3-0 Mozambique
     Morocco 4-0 Algeria
     Namibia 1-4 Burkina Faso Cameroon 0-0 Senegal
     Sierra Leone 1-0 Niger

    Sunday June 5
     Botswana 0-0 Malawi
     Liberia 1-0 C V Islands
     Guinea 4-1 Madagascar
     Burundi 3-1 Rwanda
     Swaziland 1-2 Sudan
     Angola 1-0 Kenya
     Zimbabwe 2-1 Mali
     Comoros 1-1 Libya
     C African Rep 2-1 Tanzania
     Mauritius 1-2 Congo DR
     Benin 2-6 Cote d'Ivoire
     Ethiopia 2-2 Nigeria
     Tunisia 5-0 Chad
     Egypt 0-0 South Africa

    In Sunday's other matches, a Didier Drogba brace helped Cote d'Ivoire become the second side to qualify to next year's tournament after a convincing 6-2 win in Benin on Sunday.

    Midfielder Gervinho, fresh from helping Lille win the Ligue 1 title, also scored two goals.

    Les Elephants swept into a 3-0 half-time lead before Benin threatened a comeback with a quick double from Stephane Sessegnon.

    Drogba converted a penalty to make it 4-2 and there were two more goals in the final minutes.

    Cote d'Ivoire have qualified with two rounds left to play, moving into an unassailable position after Burundi beat Rwanda 3-1.

    In other games Issam Jemaa scored a hat-trick as Tunisia thumped 10-man Chad 5-0 in Group K and the other goals in Sousse came from Aymen Abdennour and Oussama Darragi against opponents who had Didier Mbayi sent off just before half-time.

    Tunisia shade Malawi on goal difference in the battle for second place behind pool winners Botswana in the only mini-league where two teams qualify automatically because there are five competitors.

    Guinea trounced Madagascar 4-1 in Conakry to go three points clear of Nigeria in Group B while Angola kept alive their slender Group J hopes with a 1-0 victory over Kenya in Luanda thanks to a 'Manucho' goal.

    Liberia edged Group A leaders Cape Verde Islands 1-0 for their first win of the competition and the Central African Republic joined Morocco at the summit of Group D with a 2-1 win against Tanzania in Bangui.

    Comoros Islands, the youngest member of the African football family, ended a long run of competitive losses by holding Libya 1-1 in Mitsamiouli which left the North Africans a point behind Group C table toppers Zambia.

    The 11 group winners qualify for the finals in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea next January and February plus the Group K runners-up and the best two second place finishers from the other 10 mini-leagues. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


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