Mostafa Mohamed’s deflected strike in the 87th minute handed Egypt a slim 1-0 victory over a resolute Guinea as The Pharaohs started off their qualification to next year’s TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations on a victorious note.
Guinea were looking set to guard a draw away from home, but Mohamed snatched the three points at the Cairo International Stadium, giving new head coach Ehab Galal a perfect start in his new tenure.
The win takes Egypt second in Group D with three points, same as Malawi who earlier on started their campaign with a 2-1 victory at home over Ethiopia.
The Pharaohs duly deserved the three points as they were the more attacking side, though they struggled to have the ball inside the net.
Omar Marmoush had been a busy man in the Egyptian attacking third and he had a close opportunity with a shot flashing just inches wide. In the 37th minute, he was set up with a beautiful lofted ball by Mohamed Salah, but his rasping shot flew over the bar.
In the second half, the Egyptians continued prodding the Guinean half looking for the opener. They had a close opportunity in the 49th minute when Salah curled a freekick beyond the wall but it was punched away by the keeper. Hamdi Fathi picked the rebound but his shot was deflected for a corner.
Guinea who were mostly forced to be on the defending end had a rare chance in the 54th minute when Egypt lost the ball cheaply and play quickly turned against them.
The ball was played out to Thierno Barry, but his shot on the volley went just wide with keeper Mohamed Abou Gabal left rooted to his spot.
Having survived the scare, Egypt continued with their search for a goal. In the 58th minute, Omar Gaber forced the Guinean keeper to a good reaction save. A corner was defended to his path and the Pyramids defender took on a first time shot from range, which was punched away by the keeper.
The North African giants continued playing the ball into the Guinean half knocking on the door for an opening goal. It finally opened up for them in the 87th minute when Mohamed found the back of the net.
A cross from Ibrahim Adel was deflected to his path and he took on a shot which came off Antoine Conte, taking it further away from keeper Ibrahim Kone and dinking to the bottom left corner.
The Egyptians now switch their attention to the second group match against Ethiopia on Thursday while Guinea hope to bounce back when they face Malawi.