Published: Sat, June 22, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Mohamed Salah's Egypt secure win in AFCON opener

Mohamed Salah's Egypt secure win in AFCON opener

Goalscorer Mahmoud Trezeguet believes that winning is more important than the number of goals following Egypt's victory over Zimbabwe. Each user will have a budget of 100 million to put together a team of players they deem would perform well at this year's Africa Cup of Nations.

In keeping with April's spectacular tournament draw under the gaze of the Sphinx, a striking 30-minute opening ceremony preceded kick-off in Cairo, where a backdrop of pyramids and statues from Egyptian mythology set the stage for a fireworks display to illuminate the ground.

According to Zimbabwean media, the national team was threatening to boycott Egypt encounter over a dispute with Zifa officials about daily allowances and bonuses.

Trezeguet's finish overshadowed a return to Cairo for Champions League victor Mohamed Salah, whose every touch was loudly cheered but who had a frustrating evening as he could not convert his chances.

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Egypt supporters cheer ahead of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations opening match between Egypt and Zimbabwe at Cairo International Stadium on June 21, 2019.

A looping header from lone striker Marwan Mohsen was tipped over by keeper Edmore Sibanda while a side-footed effort from veteran playmaker Abdallah El-Said missed the target after a pull-back from right-back Ahmed Elmohamady.

Liverpool forward Salah also fired over and wriggled through a series of challenges before shooting at Sibanda again.

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As Zimbabwe struggled to develop any sort of rhythm with outstanding midfielder Khama Billiat contained, Salah again had a boisterous, largely red-clad crowd on their feet when he wriggled past his marker only to shoot over from a hard angle.

Zimbabwe's efforts to play out from defence backfired and the talented Trezeguet, formerly of Anderlecht and now with Kasimpasa in Turkey, shifted the ball onto his right foot before sweeping clinically into the far corner.

After the half-hour mark, the team in the dazzling yellow strip took off the stage-fright cloak, taking the game to Javier Aguirre's men, who despite nearly bowing to pressure, managed to catch the Warriors' defence off-guard, 24-year-old Mahmoud Trezeguet slaloming his to slot home the only goal of the game in the 41 minute.

It was the clearest goal-scoring chance in the first half but Egypt settled their nerves four minutes before the interval, with Trezeguet stealing the show with a superb piece of individual skill.

Momentum remained with the Egyptians six minutes later, as Sibanda denied Salah five metres from goal following a through ball.

Over in Group B, two-time champions, Nigeria take on Burundi and Guinea face debutants Madagascar.

Zimbabwe are appearing at the tournament for the fourth time and have never advanced beyond the first round.

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