Friday, June 19, 2009

Confederations Cup Match Report: Italy 0 - 1 Egypt

Egyptian Italian Job - Image from Associated Press

Egypt experienced one of their greatest moments on the international football stage when they upset World Champions Italy 1-0 in a Confederations Cup group B game played in Johannesburg on Thursday night.

It could well be argued that the African champions were full value for their half-time lead, but the second stanza was however a different story as the European side had numerous excellent scoring chances, only to be denied time and time again by sensational goal keeping by an inspired Essam Al-Hadari, who made several heroic saves to preserve the slender lead.

Opening stages of the match presented an evenly balanced contest and there was certainly evidence that Egypt were going to make the world champions work hard for their desired three points. The first chance of the game did however go the way of the team in blue as Giuseppe Rossi, handed a place in the starting line-up after his brace against the USA, was given space to shoot from inside the box, but his 12th minute effort flew well over the bar.

Ten minutes later Rossi tested Al Hadari from range, but the Pharaohs keeper did well to tip a powerful strike over the bar. With Andrea Pirlo struggling to find his range from free kicks, that was pretty much it as far as Italy’s first half attacking threat went as Egypt began to grow in confidence, steadily gaining momentum as the game went on.

With five minutes to go before the interval, Azzurri shot stopper Gianluigi Buffon had his first real test of the night when he was forced to touch Hosni Abd Rabou’s swerving 25-yarder over the bar. Egypt made maximum use of the resultant corner, shocking Italy with the opening goal as Mohamed Homos timed his jump to perfection, nodding the ball into the back of the net, via the inside of the post.

Determined to bring the game back to level terms, Italy started the second half with purpose and five minutes after the break Daniele de Rossi looked to get his name on the score-sheet, but fired over the bar from 25-yards out.

Vincenzo Iaquinta had a great opportunity soon after for Azzurri when he went clean through on goal, but his control was less than perfect and Al Hadari was able to move quickly off his line and make a brave save.

The world champions continued to create the better chances and after Simone Pepe’s cross had narrowly elude...{Read more about how Egypt upset the World Champions}

This report is featured at MTN Football.

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