Mohamed Salah got on the scoresheet as Egypt reached the last 16 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday. Salah's goal helped the Pharaohs see off Congo on a day when Nigeria also qualified for the knockout phase.
The Super Eagles began the day by beating Guinea 1-0 thanks to a goal from Chelsea defender Kenneth Omeruo.
Uganda remain in the mix to join Egypt and Nigeria in the Round of 16 despite being held to a 1-1 draw by Zimbabwe in Group A.
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- Nigeria 1-0 Guinea
- Uganda 1-1 Zimbabwe
- Congo 0-2 Egypt
Group A (Played, Won, Drawn, Lost, Goal Difference and Points)
1. Egypt: 2, 2, 0, 0, +3, 6
2. Uganda: 2, 1, 1, 0, +2, 4
3. Zimbabwe: 2, 0, 1, 1, -1, 1
4. DR Congo: 2, 0, 0, 2, -4, 0
1. Nigeria: 2, 2, 0, 0, +2, 6
2. Madagascar: 1, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1
3. Guinea: 2, 0, 1, 1, -1, 1
4. Burundi: 1, 0, 0, 1, -1, 0
- Group B: Madagascar vs. Burundi: 4:30 p.m. local time, 3:30 p.m. BST, 10:30 a.m. ET
- Group C: Senegal vs. Algeria: 7 p.m. local time, 6 p.m. BST, 1 p.m. ET
- Group C: Kenya vs. Tanzania: 10 p.m. local time, 9 p.m. BST, 4 p.m. ET
Egypt were hardly purring in attacking areas, even after Ahmed Elmohamady opened the scoring in the 25th minute. Most of the hosts' best moments were being provided by Trezeguet, who was routinely tying Congo defenders in knots.
The winger's pace and trickery took him clear from his own half two minutes before the break. One pass found Salah, who produced the moment of magic the game had been sorely lacking:
Congo tried to rally after the break, but Yannick Bolasie struggled to connect consistently with useful striker Cedric Bakambu. Everton winger Bolasie was the obvious threat to Egypt, and he drew a rash challenge from Mohamed Elneny, which should have resulted in the Arsenal midfielder being sent off instead of booked.
Uganda looked comfortable once Emmanuel Okwi found the net after just 12 minutes for his second goal in as many matches. The powerhouse striker has been impressing with his pace and aerial prowess.
To their credit, Zimbabwe's response was a proactive one. They went on the attack immediately with Khama Billiat and Knowledge Musona both going close. Eventually it was Kaizer Chiefs winger Billiat who levelled things courtesy of a smart finish five minutes before the break.
Zimbabwe spurned a few chances after the goal, leaving the Warriors to settle for a point and rue missed opportunities.
Nigeria were on the front foot early against a Guinea side struggling for impetus and creativity from midfield. The presence of Naby Keita made little difference, as the Liverpool man struggled to shake off inevitable rust accrued during a lengthy injury layoff:
The Super Eagles responded to Guinea's sluggishness by exploiting their pace in wide areas and height in the box:
While Nigeria had an element of control, Gernot Rohr's team failed to click in the final third, where Odion Ighalo, Ahmed Musa and Alex Iwobi weren't combining enough.
A goalless first half was inevitable with so little inspiration in attacking areas. Both teams also weren't shy about making aggressive challenges, with Keita in particular subjected to some rough treatment.
Nigeria continued doing most of the running after the break, with Wilfred Ndidi and Musa impressing.
For all their endeavour it ultimately took an old-fashioned route to goal for the Super Eagles to break the deadlock. Omeruo, who played last season for Leganes on loan, rose highest to glance in Moses Simon's well-placed corner.
With Keita substituted, Guinea lacked the guile to fashion enough clear-cut chances to net an equaliser.
It means Nigeria are in firm control of the group, despite struggling to truly turn on the style through two matches.