Egypt missed out on a fantastic opportunity to help finally secure a place at a FIFA World Cup finals with a 1-0 loss to Uganda Thursday in Kampala.
The win catapults the Cranes into first place in Africa’s Group E on seven points, one ahead of the Pharaohs in the race for Russia 2019.
The result also opens the door for Ghana.
If the Black Stars win out, they’ll make it to their third straight World Cup finals.
Unable to muster many serious opportunities against a stingy Ugandan defense, Egypt looked to Ittihad’s Mahmoud Kahraba as its lone striker in a must-win clash.
After weathering a number of first-half opportunities from the hosts, Egypt’s defense finally caved when speedy forward Emmanuel Okwi scored from close range virtually unchallenged.
The Pharaohs made an offensive substitution following the 51st minute strike – replacing Tarek Hamed with Saleh Gomaa – but were only able to create one serious chance the rest of the way via a Gomaa chip.
It is the third straight competitive defeat for Egypt manager Héctor Cúper following losses to Cameroon in the AFCON 2018 final, and to Tunisia in an AFCON 2019 qualifier.
The Pharaohs are also scoreless in their last two competitive matches.
The teams meet again in just five days, this time in Alexandria.
Anything short of victory for the Pharaohs will mean its quest to make it to their first World Cup since 1990 will have to wait at least four more years.