CAIRO: In a mediocre encounter, Argentina took full advantage of Egypt’s poor defense and improper marking to strike twice in the second half to claim a well-earned 2-0 victory against Egypt in an international friendly.
During the game, which took place at Cairo International Stadium on Wednesday, Argentina mainly had the upper hand and spurned a number of chances, while the African Champions only dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half and missed a golden opportunity.
Upon his entrance to the soccer field, Egypt’s goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary received a warm reception by the fans. But during the game, the fans were spilt between booing and cheering for him when he possessed the ball.
The friendly marked his first official game since the start of his ongoing feud with Al Ahly and his controversial move to Switzerland’s FC Sion.
A minute into the game, Argentina’s first attempt came as Lucho Gonzalez sent a close-range shot, but his effort went wide off the target.
The visitors should have broken the deadlock in the 12th minute when midfielder Maxi Rodriguez capitalized on slack defense by midfielder Mohamed Shawky and chipped the ball over El-Hadary. But Hany Saied intercepted through a perfectly timed header to clear off the ball into a corner-kick.
Egypt’s first real chance came after 35 minutes, as Mohamed Zidan took advantage of Argentina’s goalkeeper miss pass and sent a swerve lob from 20-yards, but the keeper redeemed himself through a perfect save.
Following the break, Egypt dominated much of the possession, with fewer miss passes than those tracked in the first half.
In the 61st minute Mohamed Abou Trika missed the golden chance of the night, as Ahmed Fathy dribbled with the ball through the right flank before he provided Abou Trika with a perfect pass into the 20-yard box. But Abou Trika’s close shot proved to be an easy task for Argentina’s keeper Roberto Abbondanzieri to save.
Five minutes later, Egypt paid the price of poor defense, as Hany Saied had a lapse of concentration for just a moment, upon which Sergio Aguero – one-on-one with El Hadary – fired a close range shot into the upper right corner of the net to put Argentina in the lead.
As Zidan was substituted, Egypt seemed to have lost the fast-paced mode required to confront such a well-organized opponent.
In the 72nd minute, Aguero could have added his second of the night, as again due to poor defense and improper marking, he was found one-on-one with El Hadary before his shot attempt narrowly missed the bar.
Eleven minutes from the end, Argentina’s central-back Nicolas Burdisso managed to nod in the second for the South American team, as he met Maxi Rodriguez’s curling cross through a spectacular loop header into El Hadary’s net to put Argentina’s victory beyond doubt.