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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 January 2006, 19:10 GMT
Egypt 3-1 Ivory Coast
Vera Kwakofi
BBC Sport, Cairo

Emad Moteab
Moteab was in fine form for Egypt
Egypt topped Group A at the African Cup of Nations after beating Ivory Coast 3-1 at the Cairo International Stadium on Saturday.

Emad Moteab opened for Egypt in the ninth minute, connecting with a header back across the goal by Abdelzaher El Saqqa.

The Ivory Coast then seized the initiative, with Aruna Kone scoring a 43rd minute equaliser with a blistering strike from 25 metres.

But an early second half goal from Mohamed Aboutrika, followed by Moteab's 73rd minute strike, sealed the win for the Pharaohs.

Aboutrika's goal for Egypt did little for the morale of Ivorian goakeeper Boubacar Barry, who came on after an injury to first choice Jean-Jacques Tizie made it impossible for him to carry on.

Although the Ivorians tried to regain the attacking fervour they stoked up in the first half, by bringing in Bakary Kone for defender Guy Demel, they were unable to penetrate the tightly-knit Egyptian defence.

Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary also played a key role, making a string of saves that could ensure they avoid four-time champions Cameroon in the quarter-finals.

Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam, who limped off in the first-half with a groin injury and was replaced by veteran Hossam Hassan, said he hoped to be fit in time for Egypt's quarter-final game.

Despite the defeat, Ivory Coast had already qualified for the last eight, after winning their first two group matches against Libya and Morocco.

Both countries will know their opponents after Sunday's final matches in Group B - leaders Cameroon take on second-placed DR Congo, while Angola take on fellow World Cup debutants Togo.

  • Egyptian assistant coach Shawky Gharib:
    "I take my hat off to them. They played superbly. This match was worthy of the final and not the first round."

  • Egypt striker Ahmed 'Mido' Hossam:
    "I felt pain in my groin on Friday,it was alright today (Saturday) but I still felt it when I started playing. Hopefully it is not too serious."

  • Ivory Coast coach Henri Michel:
    "We had three players on yellow cards so I didn't want to risk them.

    "Maybe in a week's time (the quarter-finals) we will be happy we blooded these players and left out the others for security sake.

    "I thought we played really well in the first-half but the change of goalkeeper had an effect.

    "Now we have to probably face Cameroon but so be it. One has to face strong teams at the knockout stage."

    Fixtures, results and tables
    17 Jan 06 |  African
    Egypt 2006: Venues guide
    06 Dec 05 |  African


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