Salah destroys Warriors

HARARE - Mohamed Salah produced an outstanding performance scoring a hat-trick as Egypt condemned Zimbabwe to 4-2 home defeat at the National Sports Stadium Sunday during a 2014 World Cup qualifier.

The FC Basel winger, who helped his club win the Swiss league title recently, capitalised on some sloppy defending by the Warriors to send the Pharaohs within touching distance of a place in the decisive playoffs.

Just like in the first leg in Egypt when Salah was the deciding factor in the Warriors’ 2-1 defeat, he again made the difference yesterday with a five-star performance that left everyone speechless.

The Pharaohs made a fast start to the game when veteran playmaker Mohamed Aboutrika scored a fifth-minute opener.

Aboutrika fired in his effort from close range that wrong footed goalkeeper Washington Arubi after receiving a low cross from Salah from the right.

Knowledge Musona, who shrugged off an injury in time to feature in yesterday’s, restored parity for the Warriors in the 22nd minute.

The Germany-based forward beat Pharaohs goalkeeper Sherif Ekramy with a delightful lob after getting to the end of wonderfully weighted long ball from Tafadzwa Rusike.

Salah scored the first of his three goals four minutes before the break to restore Egypt's advantage after capitalising on a mistake by Warriors defender Felix Chidungwe.

Zimbabwe came back a more determined side in the second half following some changes by coach Klaus-Dieter Pagels.

Khama Billiart replaced Chindungwe, who had a nightmare at the back, while Partson Jaure was shifted from right back to centre back.

CAPS United utility player Hardlife Zvirekwi, who had a subdued first half while playing in the midfield, took up the slot vacated by Jaure at fullback

The change breathed some life into the Warriors midfield as they began to dictate possession, but their efforts were not rewarded as Musona, Billiart and Cuthbert Malajila took turns to miss some good scoring opportunities.

With Pagels’ men pressing for an equaliser, Denver Mukamba, who had earlier replaced Archieford Gutu, lost possession in the centre circle allowing the red-hot Salah to score his second in the 77th minute.

But Zimbabwe were given a lifeline eight minutes from time when Lincoln Zvasiya headed home Ocean Mushure’s cross to make it 2-3.

However, Salah killed off Zimbabwe's hopes two minutes later when he finished home with aplomb following a fast-paced counter attack on the right side.

The Warriors were their worst enemies as they created a lot of scoring opportunities but failed to bury them.

There were also unfortunate in the 52 minute when they were denied what looked a clear penalty when defender Ahmed Hegazy handled in the box but Gambian referee Cassamma Bakery waved play on.

Egypt now have 12 points from four matches in Group G while the Warriors remain rooted to the bottom with only a single point from the same number of matches.

Teams:

Zimbabwe: Washington Arubi, Partson Jaure, Ocean Mushure, Lincoln Zvasiya, Felix Chindungwe (Khama Billiart 46 min), Devon Chafa, Archieford Gutu (Denver Mukamba 61 min), Hardlife Zvirekwi, Tafadzwa Rusike (Ovidy Karuru 69 min), Knowledge Musona, Cuthbert Malajila

Egypt: Sherif Ekramy, Ahmed Shedeed, Mohamed Aboutrika, Ahmed Eid (Ahmed Al-Mohamed 63 min), Mohamed Fathallah, Ahmed Hegazy, Mohamed El-Neni (Ibrahim Salah 67 min), Wael Gomaa, Hossam Ashour, Ahmed Fathy. - Godknows Matarutse

 

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