Egypt became the second team to book a slot in the Africa Cup of Nations second round after a 2-0 win over Democratic Republic (DR) of Congo in Cairo on Wednesday night.
Goals from skipper Ahmed Elmohamady and the sensational Mohamed Salah saw Egypt take maximum points to move top of Group A with six points.
After Nigeria beat Guinea 1-0 in Alexandria to go through, the host nation followed suit and progressed. DR Congo, in contrast, are staring at a possible early exit from the tournament after losing a second consecutive game.
Salah lifted the roof off the Cairo International Stadium with one of his trademark finishes two minutes to the break as the home side finished off the half in an emphatic fashion, doubling their tally and sitting pretty on top of the tie against the Leopards.
DR Congo would feel aggrieved as they headed to the break 2-0 down having hit the woodwork twice. In the 10th minute, skipper Marcel Tisserand extended a leg to tap the ball goal-ward off a corner but it crashed into the crossbar.
Four minutes before Salah scored the second, Jonathan Bolingi Mpangi saw his looping header from the edge of the six-yard box go beyond Mohamed Elshenawy, but which also struck the woodwork.
Egypt broke the deadlock in the 24th minute, skipper Elmohamady scoring his third goal in six games for the Pharaohs, tapping the ball home after the Congolese defence failed to deal with a Salah cross.
Salah himself forced DR Congo keeper Ley Matampi to a full stretch save on the half-hour mark from a freekick. He finally found his goal in the 43rd minute after wrapping his favorite left foot well to curl the ball beyond Matampi.
Salah had been released with a delightful through pass by Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan who had dribbled from all the way back in his half.
Though Congo came back a determined side in the second half with Cedric Bakambu and Yannick Bollasie having scoring chances, Egypt held on for the win.
Egypt finish their group stage matches against Uganda at the Cairo International Stadium on Sunday while DR Congo face Zimbabwe at the 30th of June Stadium.
In partnership with ANA and Mediapix