Egypt 3 Belarus 1
Updated Wednesday, 1st August 2012
Egypt deservedly won today's game at Hampden
There was a flurry of excitement in the first minute when Belarus secured a corner on the left. The ball was fired in along the goal line but Dmitry Baga could not react quickly enough to prod the ball home. Egypt were looking to probe at speed but Meteab Emad had just strayed offside between his markers as Mohamed Salah slipped the ball to him as he sped into the penalty box. Ten minutes gone and Egypt were winning the procession stats race with all their players looking comfortable on the ball as they moved it swiftly and slickly between each other. Belarus were slightly more ponderous in their approach play perhaps accounted for by the fact they just needed to avoid losing to progress. Egypt were willing runners and always looking to spring the offside trap and one time they will. Three Egyptian strikers to six Belarus defenders sort of tells you the tactics employed by the respective coaches. 23 minutes saw the first shot on target when Fathi Ahmed strolling along the 18 metre line shaping to shoot or pass on several occasions before sending in a firm shot which Aleksandr Gutor had to drop to his left to clutch. Minutes later and Gutor was diving to his right to stop losing a goal. This time it was a shot from Shehab Ahmed which brought the keeper into action again. The ball was passed across from right to left before Ahmed took a couple of paces forward and sent in a stinging shot. It was all Egypt for a spell and Gutor had to make sure a looping header, bravely delivered by Meteab Emad from a stooped position while a Bedlarus boot was ready to clear, did not sneak under his bar. I am trying to remember a Belarus attack in the first half-hour and am failing. They make it over the half-way line but as they are not attacking in numbers, an Egyptian boot will steal the ball and set up another attack heading the other way. The Egypt strike force were not afraid to fire in shots and once they send in a marker shot, you get the feeling one time they will score a screamer. The Egyptians were not having much luck in front of goal for all their possession and time in the opposition half. As the clock moved towards the 45 minute mark, you hoped that they would not lose a goal to a lucky break away. A last minute scorner from the left fired in by Renan Baedini Bressan nearly provided that goal as Igor Kuzmenok headed just over after running to the near post.
Half-time: Egypt 0 Belarus 0
Just the one change at half-time with Egypt bringing on forward Marwan Mohsen to see if he could break the deadlock. However, it was Belarus who looked likely to do that as Dmitry Baga was slipped into a one-on-one situation with the keeper as he raced in from the midfield on 48 minutes. Baga mustn’t have heard the Egyptian defender right behind him who managed to make up the gap and get his foot in front of the ball as Baga connected. Egypt were willing to take the hits to prevent a goal. Eslam Ramadan sneaked in behind Sergei Kornilenko to put his body in front of his shot in the six metre box. This required some treatment but there was no chance of any Egyptian coming off the pitch willingly. Baga was the main threat for Belarus but his lone forays were crowded out by the Egyptian defence. Finally Egypt got what they deserved when Mohamed Salah scored in the 56 minute. He ran onto a through ball on the right hand side of the box and fired in past the helpless Aleksandr Gutor. This will bring the Belarus team out of their shell as they now need to score to stay in the competition. IT was the Belarus side’s turn for luck to be missing. Ilya Aleksievich fired in a powerful shot from the edge of the penalty are only to see Ahmed Elshenawi dive to his right and block the shot. Sergei Kornilenko ran into to fire in the rebound but Elshenawi was rady to block that shot as well. It didn’t matter as Kornilenko was adjudged to have been off-side (he was by a mile). A sweeping move from the Egyptians brought a reward of a second goal. In 73 minutes Marwan Mohsen rewarded his coach for putting him on as a sub when he was on the end of a fast paced interchange of passes to slip the ball past Aleksandr Gutor from close range. It could have been through his legs but Mohsen will not care. He could have scored the goal that gets his side into the quarter finals. Just to make sure of their place, captain Mohamed Abourtrika scored a decisive third goal when sub Omar Gaber ran in on the right of the box drawing Gutor off his line just enough for his crisp pass to find his captain who will never score an easier goal. Belarus legs must have really felt heavy at this point with just ten minutes to get three goals back. Their goal threat had really be non-existent with Egypt’s defence untroubled for most of the game. Egypt were enjoying the game now with flicks and tricks coming off as they do when the pressure is off. Belarus finally got a consolation goal from a corner on the right. Dmitry Baga fired it in for Andrei Voronkov to bullet home his header. Too little too late? With two minutes to go, I think so.
Egypt: Ahmed Elshenawi. Mohamed Aboutrika, Ahmed Hegazi, Ahmed Fathi (Gaber Omar 69 mins), Sheab Ahmed (Marwan Mohsen 46 mins), Meteeab Emad (Gomaa Saleh 76 mins), Mohamed Salah. Eslam Ramadan, Hassan Hossam, Saaleldin Saad, Mohamed El Neny
Unused Subs: Fahy Aly, Ahmed Magdy, Mohamed Bassam
Belarus: Aleksandr Gutor, Stalislav Dragun, Igor Kuzmenok, Sergei Politevich, Dmitry Baga, Sergei Kornilenko, Renan Baedini Bressan (Mksim Skavysh 75 mins), Aleksei Kozlov (Andrei Voronkov 69 mins), Iily Aleksievich, Mikhail Gordeichuk (Artem Solovei 60 mins), Denis Polyakov
Unused Subs: Aleksei Gavrilovich, Vladimir Khvashchinsky, Egor Zubovich, Andrei Shcherbavok