Egypt manager Javier Aguirre was overall satisfied with his side’s 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in their Africa Cup of Nations opener, but admits there’s work to do.
Hosts Egypt kicked things off on Friday night with a 1-0 win in Cairo following Mahmoud Trezeguet’s excellent strike just before the break.
Starman Mohamed Salah was in fine form for the Pharaohs, but ultimately failed to get his name on the scoresheet. The Liverpool forward, along with Marwan Mohsen and Abdallah El-Said, was denied by Zimbabwe’s in-form goalkeeper Edmore Sibanda.
Ultimately, though, not even Sibanda could deny Trezeguet’s grand finish into the bottom-right corner of the net. The strike enabled Egypt to go top of Group A and in a strong position to qualify for the knockouts.
Although Sibanda was in no mood to throw in the towel and continued his solid display in the second-half. The 35-year-old made sure to prevent Trezeguet from a second goal and he denied Salah again from close-range before coming off with a knock in the final 10 minutes.
More worrying for Egypt, however, was the team’s notable drop in performance towards the end of the match.
“Our performance against Zimbabwe was satisfactory, but we left many spaces in the midfield,” said Aguirre, as quoted by King Fut.
“The opponents’ movements were very fast and caused us a lot of problems. Zimbabwe’s performance improved in the second-half. We played against a very organized team.
“We missed many clear-cut chances, including Mohamed Salah’s one-on-one chance.
“Our performance dropped in the second-half due to the pressure we faced as well as fatigue.
“Zimbabwe had nothing to lose after conceding, which made them attack and create chances. We will work on fixing the problems in the upcoming games.
“We must win every game if we want to achieve our main target, which is the title.”
Egypt will be back in action against DR Congo on Wednesday, where victory may be enough to book a spot in the last-16.
— Egypt National Football Team (@Pharaohs) June 21, 2019