Egypt Recover Over Holding Nigeria In Thriller

Egyptian fans cheer on their team on November 17, 2015. By (AFP/File)

Johannesburg (AFP) - Egypt came from two goals behind to draw 2-2 with Nigeria Wednesday after an African 2016 Olympic Games qualifying thriller in Senegal.

It was the second successive Group B match in which the Nigerians suffered a second-half defensive meltdown after hanging on for a 3-2 win over Mali last Sunday having led by three goals at half-time.

Oghenekaro Etebo converted two first-half penalties before a capacity 5,000 crowd at Stade Caroline Faye in coastal city M'Bour, 70 kilometres (44 miles) south of the Senegalese capital, Dakar.

The first spot kick should not have been awarded with TV replays showing the ball hitting the knee of Egypt captain Ramy Rabia, and not his hand as the referee believed.

There were also doubts about the validity of the second penalty with Mohamed Gamal punished by the Cameroonian match official for a ball-to-hand situation.

Ramadan Sobhy halved the deficit two minutes after the break and Chizoba Amaefule deflected a low cross into his net on 51 minutes to square the game.

A Nigerian back-four that started with three 17-year-olds in the under-23 tournament came under constant second-half pressure with goalkeeper Emmanuel Daniel making several fine saves.

But it was a Nigerian, Junior Ajayi Oluwafemi, who came closest to snatching a winning goal through a shot that struck the woodwork with goalkeeper Mohamed Awad beaten.

The draw kept Nigeria and Egypt in contention for semi-finals places with Algeria, 2-0 winners over deeply disappointing Mali in the first match of a double-header.

Algeria top Nigeria on goal difference with each having four points from two matches before a final-round clash at Stade Leopold Segar Senghor in Dakar Saturday.

Egypt have two points and stay in M'Bour for their last group game against pointless Mali, who cannot reach the knockout stages.

After a dire first half between Algeria and Mali that did not produce a clearcut scoring chance, the North Africans struck twice in the final quarter from left-flank counter-attacks.

Zinedine Ferhat broke the dreary deadlock with a far-post tap-in on 73 minutes and Youssef Traore deflected a Zakaria Draoui cross into his net six minutes from time.

Source: AFP
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