African Cup Of Nations – Group D
African Cup of Nations holders Egypt and Mali produced an uninspiringly 0-0 draw in the second match on Tuesday.
The match will probably be best remembered for Egypt goalkeeper El Hadary becoming the oldest player at 44 to play in an African Nations Cup match in the entire history of the tournament. He came on in the 25th minute of the match to replace the injured El Shenawy and create his own piece of history.
Egypt sure does have goalkeeping problems at the moment and it’s entirely possible the 44 year old will start for Egypt in their next match at the weekend.
Salah the former Chelsea attacking midfielder was undoubtedly the best player on the park and he made two or three chances for his team mates who all fluffed their lines entirely on queue,
The heavy hot conditions in the early evening were not conducive for fast football and both teams looked a little tired and weary from the off. The early exchanges were even. On 18 minutes Mali’s number 18 headed towards the corner of the goal but El Shenawy in the Egypt goal miraculously managed to get his fingertips to the ball and divert it wide. Unfortunately in his efforts he was injured and a few minutes later limped off to be replaced by the record breaking El Hadary. To be truthful he had little to do in the match save from a run out and stop in the last few minutes and a couple of punches out from corners and set pieces. It was a relatively quiet clean sheet for the old boy.
El Said went close for the Egyptians after the beak but there was a serious lull in the game for almost half an hour interspersed with fouls, free kicks, bookings and substitutions until the last ten minutes showed a bit of life. Salah having been booked was withdrawn as a precaution while Bissouma for Mali who came on in the second half looked busy, lively and skillful.
The match ended goalless and was incredibly the sixth drawn game of the first 8 matches.
So far it has not been the most scintillating of tournaments with too many teams in the first matches relying on their defences to ensure a point at minimum.
Lets hope the second round of matches improves emphatically.
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