Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Egypt miss first attempt to reach Olympics

Egypt missed the chance of automatic qualification for the 2012 Olympics after losing 3-2 to Morocco in the CAF U-23 Championship semi-finals.

The young Pharaohs are, however, left with two more chances of making the London finals a they face Senegal in the third-place playoff.

A dismal start by Egypt helped the hosts grab two early goals through AbdelAziz Barrada, but Mohamed Salah pulled one back for the visitors.

After the break, Younes Mokhtar restored Morocco’s two-goal lead before Ahmed Sherweda added Egypt’s second to ensure an edgy finale to the game in Marrakech.

Poor start
Morocco couldn’t have wished for a better start as Egypt’s backline was all over the place, allowing the hosts to score two goals inside the opening nine minutes.

A magnificent solo run by Soufiane Bidaoui was finished off with an easy tap-in from Getafe youngster Barrada after just 30 seconds.

Eight minutes later, Barrada grabbed his second with an easier finish, following a rare error by Egypt keeper Ahmed Al-Shennawi, who couldn’t handle Lotfi Oubilla’s innocuous shot.

Salah wasted a couple of chances, including a terrible miss, to reduce the deficit before making amends with a goal in the 36th minute.

In the second half, Morocco’s number seven Bidoaui made another inroad to tear apart the Egypt defense and set up Mokhtar with the vital third goal in the 67th minute.

Masri striker Sherweda gave Egypt a glimmer of hope with a goal in the last seven minutes but the Moroccans were defending in numbers to maintain their lead and claim the London 2012 ticket.

Morocco will face surprise package Gabon in the final.

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