ABIDJAN: Mohammed Kudus scored a brace of goals but Ghana twice let a lead slip to draw 2-2 with Egypt in their Africa Cup of Nations Group B clash in Abidjan on Thursday (Jan 18), with the latter facing an anxious wait over an injury concern for Mohamed Salah.
Salah limped out of the game just before halftime with what appeared a muscle injury as he grabbed the back of his leg following a bursting run. It will have set off alarm bells at Liverpool, too.
Both teams still have work to do to qualify for the knockout rounds. Record seven-time winners Egypt, who had Omar Marmoush and Mostafa Mohamed on the scoresheet, have two points from two games and face pool leaders Cape Verde next on Monday.
Ghana have gone a team record six games without a win at the Cup of Nations and have a single point from their two matches. They will likely have to beat Mozambique in their final pool fixture to book a knockout place.
Salah’s fitness for the remainder of the tournament could be the difference between success and failure for an Egypt side that have looked a little out of sorts having arrived in the Ivory Coast in excellent form.
Ghana were shocked by Cape Verde in their pool opener and while this was a better display, coach Chris Hughton will be desperately disappointed they gave away a lead twice in five minutes.
There was plenty of hustle and bustle in the first half, but not much in the way of goalmouth action until deep into stoppage time.
Kudus picked up the ball 30-yards from goal and worked space for a shot, rifling his effort into the back of the net from the edge of the box.
The North African side turned up the pressure after the break and camped in the Ghana half, but were wayward with their finishing until they were handed a gift.
Inaki Williams’ poor back pass was straight into the path of Omar Marmoush and the forward rounded Richard Ofori in the Ghana goal to score.
Two minutes later the West Africans were back in front as an unsighted Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy could not keep out Kudus’ curling shot from 15 yards.
Egypt had conceded two goals in a game once in their previous 28 matches at the Cup of Nations before these finals but have now done it twice in as many matches.
The Pharaohs made it three goals in five minutes though as Mostafa turned in Trezeguet’s cut-back from the byline to equalise for the second time and share the spoils.