Title holders Egypt showcased their prowess by bouncing back with a 1-0 victory against a ten-man Mali at the 2023 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) in Morocco on Wednesday.
The Pharaohs win the encounter that featured a face-off between two tactically well-organized teams at the Grand Stade in Tangier in Group B of the tournament.
The Egyptians, displaying a more aggressive and forward-oriented style of play, seized control in the 10th minute thanks to Ibrahim Mohamed Adel, the team’s captain and scorer of Egypt’s first goal in the competition.
Adel, a forward for Pyramids FC and currently the third top goal-scorer in the Egyptian league, celebrated his fifth goal of the season.
In the 18th minute, Mali was awarded a free kick. Mamadou Sangaré, who had marked his 21st birthday with a goal against Gabon, stepped up to take the shot, but the Egyptian defence managed to deflect his effort.
The spectators in Tangier were treated to an engaging and vibrant match with continuous attacking moves from both sides.
The first half concluded with the Egyptians holding a slight advantage on the scoreboard.
As the second half commenced, Ahmed Eid received a yellow card for elbowing Traoré and will consequently face suspension in the upcoming match.
The game’s dynamics shifted, resulting in a more closed and fragmented contest with an increased number of fouls, including Mamady Diambou’s obstruction.
Salzburg’s defensive midfielder received a second yellow card, leading to his expulsion. Reduced to ten men, Mali faced an uphill battle and had to tap into their reserves.
Seizing the opportunities left by the Malian defense, the Pharaohs created chances. Adel provided a pass to Ahmed Nabil Koka, who took a shot, only to see the ball cleared off the goal line by the determined Malian defenders in the 70th minute.
Despite their efforts, Badra Aliou Cissé’s men lacked innovation in their gameplay.
They had a promising opportunity just minutes before the end of regular time, but Ibrahima Cissé’s header missed the target. The scoreline remained unaltered.
With four points, Egypt leapfrog their opponents to the top of Group B, positioning themselves favuorably ahead of the second group match between Niger and Gabon.