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Error-ridden Egypt embarrassed by Sudan

CAIRO: African champions Egypt made too many mistakes in their friendly game with Sudan, allowing their Southern neighbors to beat them 4-0 in Omdurman on Wednesday. A Mahmoud Fathallah own-goal in the first-half gave Sudan a deserved lead. Goalkeeper Mohamed Abdel-Monsef, who replaced Essam Al-Hadari at halftime, was to blame for Sudan s additional three …


CAIRO: African champions Egypt made too many mistakes in their friendly game with Sudan, allowing their Southern neighbors to beat them 4-0 in Omdurman on Wednesday.

A Mahmoud Fathallah own-goal in the first-half gave Sudan a deserved lead.

Goalkeeper Mohamed Abdel-Monsef, who replaced Essam Al-Hadari at halftime, was to blame for Sudan s additional three goals in the second half.

In the last 10 minutes, Mudathir El-Tahir notched a brace while Ahmed Adel was also on the score sheet to condemn Egypt to a heavy defeat.

It is Egypt s first defeat at the hands of neighbors Sudan since 1975.

It is also the Pharaohs heaviest defeat in five years. In 2003, France thrashed Egypt 5-0 at Stade de France.

Egypt are preparing for a crunch tie against DR Congo in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers next month.

Sudan had the upper hand in the first half as Egypt players were apparently finding it difficult to adjust to their new roles.

Egypt coach Hassan Shehata, who led the national team to back-to-back Nations Cup titles, employed an unfamiliar 4-4-2 formation.

The six-time African champions are used to playing with a 3-5-2 formation.

Middlesbrough s Ahmed “Mido Hossam, who played his first match for Egypt since September 2007, was deployed as a left winger.

Midfielder Ahmed Hassan played on the right while playmaker Mohamed Abou-Trika supported striking duo Emad Meteb and Amr Zaki.

Despite the abundance of high-profile players within Egypt s starting line-up, the Pharaohs struggled to match their opponents.

Midfielder Mugahid Ahmed had an opportunity to put Sudan in the lead after 10 minutes.

He latched onto a through pass to beat the offside trap and go one-on-one with the keeper, but Al-Hadari rushed out of his goal to block Ahmed s effort.

In the 25th minute, Haytham Tambal s acrobatic effort from a right-wing cross narrowly missed the target.

Egypt s only chance came one minute later when Meteb cut ahead of Sudan keeper Moez Mahjoub to meet a left-wing cross with a header that went just wide of the post.

Fathallah fired Sudan to the lead eight minutes before the break when he dived to head Badreldin Galag s cross into his own net.

Shehata replaced the in-form Al-Hadari with Abdel-Monsef. Ahly midfielder Hossam Ashour also stepped onto the pitch to make his Egypt debut.

Abdel-Monsef made dreadful mistakes to help Sudan score three more goals and heap more misery on the visitors.

Nine minutes from time, the 31-year-old keeper failed to deal with a tame cross from the left.

The ball slipped out of his grasp as El-Tahir pounced to slot home into an empty net.

Adel added the third in the 88th minute when he raced towards the area unopposed before sending a low shot, that was a weak one, but it eluded Abdel-Monsef and went into the net.

El-Tahir completed the rout in stoppage time when he went clear on goal after a neatly-worked counter attack to drill a low shot beneath the helpless Abdel-Monsef.

Egypt assistant coach Shawki Gharib conceded that the national team’s technical staff shoulders the responsibility for the embarrassing 4-0 defeat at the hands of Sudan.

“The technical staff is fully responsible for this result, Gharib told the post-match press conference.

“But people must be aware that the players are yet to reach their peak because we are still in the early stages of the season.

“Egypt always lose during that time of the year because of that reason.

Gharib admitted that the 4-0 defeat will be hard to swallow, but believes that friendlies are arranged for purposes which are much more important than results.

“We used many players against Sudan to settle on the best possible line-up for our World Cup qualifier against DR Congo next month.

Egypt face DR Congo, who share Group 12 summit with the Pharaohs on nine points, away from home on Sept. 5.

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