Egypt recorded a tough 1-0 victory over Uganda on Tuesday to move top of their Group in the race for next year’s FIFA World Cup finals in Russia.
An early goal from Liverpool starlet Mohamed Salah was all the Pharaohs needed to bag the points and keep its World Cup qualifying fate in its own hands.
Egypt got the fast start it hoped for when Abdalla El-Said’s precise through-ball over the top of the Uganda defense found Salah, who needed two bites at the apple to find the back of the net.
His initial volley was saved by Uganda goalkeeper Denis Onyango. Onyango got a touch to Salah’s rebound as well but it had just enough on it to cross the goal line.
Egypt remained the better side throughout, but found itself increasingly on the backfoot as the match wore on.
The Pharaohs could have gone two or even three up but Mahmoud Trezeguet and El-Said each squandered wonderful opportunities on the counter-attack.
Egypt now leads Group E with 9 points. Uganda are second on 7 points and Ghana remain in contention with 5 points.
Ghana’s Black Stars thrashed Congo 5-1 earlier in the day to keep its hopes alive with two matchdays remaining.
Congo, currently with a solitary point, have officially been eliminated from contention.
Matchday five could end up deciding the group, as Uganda host Ghana on October 7 and Egypt play at home against Congo.
If Uganda fail to beat Ghana and Egypt defeats Congo, the Pharaohs would qualify for their first World Cup finals since 1990.
Ghana would stay alive if it beats Uganda and Egypt fails to beat Congo.
The final round of matches in November sees Egypt traveling to Kumasi to face Ghana and Uganda playing Congo in Brazzaville.