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Egypt beat Jordan 3-1, through to Arab Cup semis

Egypt beat a resilient Jordan 3-1 in extra time to book a spot in the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 semi-finals. 

The Pharaohs rallied back from going a goal down early in the game thanks to Yazan Al Naimat’s strike, but goals from Marwan Hamdy in the first half and extra-time strikes from substitutes Ahmed Refaat and Marwan Daoud ensured the North Africans qualify for the last four of the competition.

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz had before the game played down his side as favourites calling Jordan the likely team to win. It looked that way in the opening 15 minutes as Jordan took the lead 12 minutes into the match through Yazan Al Naimat’s curler. The Sahab SC of Jordan forward received the ball just inside the box before shifting onto his right leg to send a beauty into the top left corner with Egypt’s Mohammed El Shenawy well beaten.

Egypt tried to respond almost immediately, but Mostafa Fathy scuffed his effort after good work down the left by Hussein Faisal.

Some lax defending again from Egypt almost gifted Jordan the second, but El Shenawy got down well to save Ali Al Olwan’s strike. El Shenawy again had to be alert to save from the resulting corner, which bounced off his teammate Mahmoud Hamdi.

Jordan continued to look the likelier to score, and El Shanawy again had to bail out his team as Noor Al Rawabdeh’s well-struck volley heading for the roof of the net was parried to safety.

Egypt enjoyed more possession but could not penetrate the sturdy Jordanian defence and were limited to long-range shots, with Zizo firing aimlessly high.

Again Jordan went close in the 38th minute as Olwan’s shot from just outside the box cannoned off the bar with El Shenawy at full stretch.

However, the Pharaoh’s pressure finally paid off just before halftime as Hamdy headed home Zizo’s cross to level the tie. 

Hussein Faisal could have put the North Africans ahead in the second half, but the Smouha SC man couldn’t sort his feet for an easy tap-in.

But Jordan soon created an opportunity out of nothing, thanks to the agile Al Naimat. The striker beat his marker to the ball before showing slick skills, but his shot narrowly skidded wide off the post.

Egypt could have sealed the game in stoppage time as captain Amr El Soleya picked out the run of Zizo, but he somehow headed way off the mark after beating the offside trap and with the goalkeeper at his mercy.

On the other end, Jordan almost carved open the Egyptians, but last-ditch defending ensured the teams went into extra time.

Egypt almost got a lifeline with two minutes into extra time from the spot as goalkeeper Yazeed Abu Lalla made a mess of a routine catch. Zizo was judged to have handled the ball after the referee consulted VAR.

Egypt piled on the pressure and soon took the lead as substitutes Refaat and Mohamed Sherif combined. Sherif beat his marker before crossing into the box for Refaat to slot home.

The Jordanian defence looked tired as Egypt pressed, and Soleya’s volley needed Yazeed to save at full stretch. The Pharaohs could have stretched their lead from the resultant corner, but Baha’a Abdulrahman cleared on the line with Egypt registering 26- shots to Jordan’s seven. 

Refaat turned provider with just one minute to go in extra time as Egypt sealed their spot in the semis as an unmarked Daoud headed home from just a few yards out.

After the game, Egypt’s captain Soleya said The Pharaohs showed strength at the end and must now focus on their next match. 

“We were not well focused initially, and the Jordanian team surprised us. We had a lot of pressure at the beginning of the match, and after the first Jordanian goal, we started pressing until we managed to get one goal. Finally, we succeeded in scoring three. We were determined to win, and we will start preparing for the next match with Tunisia,” Soleya said.

Egypt will now take on North African rivals Tunisia at Stadium 974 on Wednesday.

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