African glory for Egypt

Pharoahs claim their seventh Africa Cup of Nations title with 1-0 win over Ghana in Angola.

    Egypt take home a record seventh Africa Cup of Nations title [AFP] 

    And having thumped fierce rivals Algeria 4-0 in the semi-final, Egypt's stars rubbed in their victory by climbing on top of the goalposts to celebrate in front of 50,000 fans at Luanda's November 11 stadium - mimicking the scenes when Algeria dumped them out of the World Cup qualifiers in Khartoum last November.

    Their record seventh Africa Cup of Nations trophy is vindication of their claim to be the best team in Africa, despite having failed to reach the World Cup finals since 1990.

    'A hundred times better'

    "We're not thinking about Algeria - we're a hundred times better than them," striker Zidan told Al Jazeera after climbing down from the goalposts with keeper Essam El Hadary.

    "We're not sending a message to them. We're sending a message to everybody that we're trying to play the best football in Africa - and we're doing that."

    "We're not thinking about Algeria - we're 100 times better than them"

    Mohamed Zidan, Egypt striker

    Ghana fell at the final hurdle after their team packed with youngsters from last year's Under-20 World Cup final failed to find a way past El Hadary despite a second-half bombardment.

    Striker Asamoah Gyan went close several times as the tactics which saw the Black Stars reach the final with a record of four goals scored and three conceded looked to be working.

    Egypt, who had scored 14 times and conceded just twice coming into this match, carved out few chances in the 85 minutes before Gedo's goal as Ghana hit them again and again on the counter-attack after a drab first half.

    Eight minutes of the second half had gone when Gyan got his first chance to add to his goals against Angola and Nigeria, blasting just over with a free kick from outside the left hand side of the box.

    Fired over

    And on 63 minutes he fired just over again as the Black Stars drew fouls around the area from the frustrated Pharoahs.

    As darkness fell with 20 minutes to go, the turning on of the floodlights seemed to inject a new electricity into the match as Gyan sparked another curling effort just wide of the top right of El Hadary's goal.

    The poor pitch which has blighted many of the games in Angola was again causing problems, with Egypt's Abdrabou Hosni hurling a fistful of dirt in frustration after stubbing his foot as he tried to play a ball over the top.

    But as the match looked to be sliding towards extra time, Gedo surged forward from the right to combine with Zidan, finishing the tournament as top-scorer and sending the Africa Cup of Nations back to Cairo once more.

    "Everybody in Cairo will be celebrating in the streets and we can't wait to get back to celebrate with our people," said Zidan.

    Goalkeeper El Hadary said that Egypt coach Hassan Shehata had forged a bond among his palyers.


    "It is not like a coach and his players - we in the Egypt team are like a family," he said.

    Veteran Ghana captain Kingson meanwhile said there was nothing he could do to console his young team ahead of their appearance in the World Cup this summer.

    "There's nothing much I can say, but I've told them to forget about it because this game is in the past," he said.

    "They just have to think about their future."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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