Egypt on verge of bagging ticket to Russia
07 Sep 2017 - 1:23
Johannesburg: African giants Egypt moved closer to a first World Cup appearance since 1990 when they defeated Uganda 1-0 on Tuesday thanks to an early goal from Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah.
A near-capacity crowd in the 85,000-seat Borg El Arab Stadium in Alexandria saw the June signing from AS Roma strike just six minutes into the Group E clash.
Salah sneaked behind the defence and after goalkeeper Denis Onyango parried his first attempt, he poked the rebound into the net to decide the top-of-the-table showdown.
It was the first goal conceded by Uganda in 456 minutes of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after five consecutive clean sheets.
Egypt created most of the chances only to be regularly thwarted by 2016 Africa-based Footballer of the Year Onyango.
The Pharaohs host bottom team Congo Brazzaville in October and visit third-place Ghana in November and two victories will ensure they qualify.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey scored a hat-trick as Ghana kept faint hopes of a fourth straight World Cup appearance alive with a 5-1 thrashing of Congo in Brazzaville.
Egypt have nine points after four rounds, Uganda seven, Ghana five and Congo just one.
Although Egypt have been the dominant African football force, winning the Cup of Nations a record seven times, they consistently struggle in the World Cup, qualifying only twice.
Leaders Ivory Coast suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat by Gabon in Group C, but the damage was lessened by second-place Morocco only drawing 0-0 with Mali in Bamako.
Axel Meye and recent Southampton recruit Mario Lemina scored within 10 minutes during the first half for the Gabonese, who crumbled 3-0 at home to the Ivorians three days ago.