865 days after Cameroon won the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon, the 32nd edition of the biggest sporting competition in the continent finally kicked off in Egypt with the hosts taking on Zimbabwe in the opening match.
The competition kicked off with a colourful performance that showed the beauty of African Culture, while some of the continents biggest artists including Nigeria’s own Fela Kuti treated fans with exciting musical performances.
Following the musical performances and celebration of African culture, attention turned to the action on the pitch. Egypt started brightly with Mo Salah proving to be a thorn in the flesh of the Zimbabwean defence.
The Liverpool star was a threat on the right side of the pitch and he almost forced an own goal from Zimbabwean defender who inadvertently directed a ball from the Liverpool star into his own goal but was bailed out by his goalkeeper.
Salah continued to threaten on the right as he raced down the right of the box, to try his luck from wide but the angles were completely against the Liverpool forward. The former Roma man was enjoying himself down the right flank and got close once again but his shot was saved by Zimbabwe goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda.
Zimbabwe almost took the lead against the run of play as they caught the Egyptian defence sleeping, but the Pharaos goalkeeper saved Egypt’s blushes. That put Egypt on alert and they took the lead minutes later through Mahmoud Trezeguet. The Kasimpasa striker beat Zimbabwe defender Alec Midimu before curling a right-footed shot into the right of Edmore Sibanda’s goal.
Here’s how the players rated:
Mohamed El Shenawi: The Al Ahly goalkeeper didn’t have much to do, but made an important save in the opening half to prevent Zimbabwe from scoring. 8
Ahmed El Mohamady: Few of the chances Zimbabwe had was from his side but aside that he was solid. 7
Mahmoud Alaa Eldin: Solid defensively. Didn’t put a foot wrong. 8
Ahmed Hegazi: The West Brom defender was rash going into challenges sometimes, but dealt well with Zimbabwe attack. 7
Ayman Ashraf: Didn’t have much to do defensively as Egypt dominated for the majority of the game, but was solid going forward. 8
Tarek Hamed: Brilliant in the middle of the park and protected the back four well. 8
Mohamed Eleny: The Arsenal midfielder was tidy in possession. 7
Abdalla Said: Brilliant in the attack, linking up well with Salah and Trezeguet. 7
Mahmoud Trezeguet: Took his goal well and was also brilliant before he was replaced. 8
? | @Trezeguet is the protagonist of the game so far with his opening goal for @Pharaohs pic.twitter.com/0RCaOJArYm
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) June 21, 2019
Mohamed Salah: The Liverpool star was a thorn in the flesh of the Zimbabwean defence and could have had a goal if not for Edmore Sibanda. 8
Marwan Mohsen: Disappointing all through and was chalked off Walid Soliman in the 60th minute.
Walid Soliman; The 34-year-old was making his return for Egypt in a major tournament after missing out in last year’s world cup. He came into a rousing reception from the fans and almost set up Mohamed Salah for the second goal of the game. 7
Amr Warda: N/A
Nabil Dunga: N/A