CAIRO: Egypt U-20 team’s hopes of reaching the 2009 African Cup of Nations took a setback as the young Pharaohs were held to a 3-3 home draw by Zambia on Sunday.
Egypt have no choice but to defeat Zambia in the second-leg if they are to advance to the Nations Cup, which will be held in Eritrea in January.
This was the first game for new Egypt coach Miroslav Soukup.
However, Soukup’s ultimate task will be lifting Egypt to the latter stages of the 2009 World Cup on home soil.
In the match that was played in Alexandria, the visitors took a surprising lead after 14 minutes.
Zambia striker Rodgers Kola fired a low free kick that squirmed beneath Egypt’s keeper Ali Lotfi.
But Ahmed Fathi leveled the score just one minute later when he latched onto a deft through pass, rounded keeper William Chibale and stabbed into an empty net.
Fwayo Tembo restored Zambia’s advantage in the 18th minute after capitalizing on another error from Lotfi.
Egypt equalized again in the 35th minute, thanks to Hossam Arafat’s low shot from inside the 18-yard box.
But few moments before the break, Zambia had the advantage for the third time. Tembo was found unmarked by a neat pass on the edge of the area before rifling a shot into the bottom corner.
Ahmed Magdi spared Egypt’s blushes 14 minutes after the restart as Chibale failed to deal with his long-range shot.