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Tuesday, February 07, 2006 

Lions tamed! Elephants, you're next!

It was a very exciting night in Cairo International Stadium as the Pharaohs could bring back their own history of taming lions. The Pharoahs now qualify to the final match to play (once more) against Cote d'Ivoire as they send the Tiranga Lions home with a 2-1 loss. I say I held my breathe for the whole 90 minutes as the game became very open on both sides after Mido was replaced by Amr Zaki who scored the winner for Egypt in the 80th minute.

The very first moments of the match were boring as the two teams seemed to be very cautious. However, the Senegal national team could well control the midfield as the Pharoahs preferred playing on counter attacks and long balls directed to Mido who was under strong man marking. In a very fast counter attack Egypt's left winger Mohammed Abdul Wahab crossed the ball in to the advancing Mohammed Barakat but the Senegali defender Mendy pushed it with his fist giving Egypt a penalty kick. I can't describe how hard the moments before Ahmed Hassan, Egypt's skipper, played the penalty kick scoring Egypt's first goal. However, the referee urged Hassan to play the penalty kick once more as he thought there was something wrong. Hard moments against, and yeah, Hassan scored again as he placed the ball past the goal keeper.

Then moments after the second half started Senegal scored the equalizer from a well placed header after a very silly mistake by Egypt's center defender El Saka. Both teams seemed to have lost their nerves and the Pharaohs missed many serious chances that could have sealed the game. Then comes the tragedy in the 80th minute as Mido became angry when substituted by Amr Zaki, somehow he confronted Egypt's manager Hassan Shehata but the team's captain Hossam Hassan could calm things down. It was clear that Mido was very enthusiastic and wanted to do something but he was not in form and he suffered strong man marking from the Lions' defense. The tragedy continues as Amr Zaki gives the lead back to Egypt from the very first touch as he met Abu Treka's cross with a magnificent header, just seconds after he stepped in the pitch. Consequently, the Tiranga Lions knew they were in a hot spot and they have nothing to lose, and they ran for full attack in the last minutes of the game. Again Emad Moteb missed two serious chances as the Senegalese defense became very open as the team attacked with their full force. Finally, the referee gave the final whistle and again the same scenes repeated itself. All Egyptians happy, all Egyptians thank God... All of them aspire for the final against the Cote D'Ivoire Elephants, all dreaming of the fifth ACN title for the Egyptian team.

Amr Zaki scored celebrates the winner #1 !

Amr Zaki celebrates the winner #2 !


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