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The State of Play
Remarkably, the first leg between these two continental heavyweights was more one-sided than Mexico and Uruguay’s triumphs over New Zealand and Jordan.
The Black Stars won 6-1 in Kumasi, and completely eviscerated the Pharaohs’ World Cup dreams.
While Egypt struggled with defensive absentees and thus frailties at the back, the West Africans were incredibly effective and completely ruthless. The Pharaohs were out-battled, out-ran and ultimately out-classed.
The Principal Actor
Any one of Ghana’s top-class midfielders has the potential to be a match-winner. Together, the likes of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah, Andre Ayew and Sulley Muntari forge one of the world’s most impressive central midfield stables.
Michael Essien, despite his injury problems over the last few seasons, remains a fine midfielder. His experience may prove to be critical against Egypt, particularly in the game’s opening stages when the hosts will look to salvage the tie.
On a personal note, he will be keen to impose himself on the Black Stars once more ahead of next summer. The Chelsea man will be motivated by missing out on the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The Neutral’s Choice
Should Egypt come back into the tie, then the fans are in for one of the most incredible nights in the history of African football!
The draw—pitting these two giants together—was unfortunate, as both would be a terrific addition to the World Cup. Joy for Essien, Muntari, Boateng, Asamoah and company is matched only by the disappointment of Mohamed Abou Treika and all the rest of us hoping for a perfect closing chapter to the Pharaohs’ golden era.
The Likely Outcome
Even if they had lost only 2-1 in Kumasi, Egypt would have had their work cut out to have salvaged qualification from the return leg in Cairo. The experience and talent manning the Ghana midfield would, I imagine, have proved resolute and have seen out the tie.
At 6-1 down, it would take something close to a miracle for the Pharaohs to overcome the West African powerhouse.