Supersub 'Gedo' the hero as Egypt retain African crown

09:26, February 02, 2010      

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Egypt entered the record books here on Sunday, beating Ghana 1-0 in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations with supersub Mohamed 'Gedo' Nagy lifting the Pharaohs to their third straight title.

Gedo, who has scored from the bench in Egypt's last four games in Angola, came on in the 63rd minute and produced his magic with five minutes left on the clock to cement Egypt's standing as the kings of Africa.

The win also gave veteran coach Hassan Shehata a history-making third championship after Cairo in 2006 and Accra in 2008 and extended Egypt's unbeaten record in the competition to an astonishing 19 games.

Shehata's assistant, Shawky Garib, said: "I'd like to congratulate Ghana for what they did today (Sunday).

"It's important to take your chance and today we took it. But we respect the Ghana team, they played a very good match today.

"We said we were the champions from the first day we arrived in Angola and we would defend our title.

"We have won three titles in 2006, 2008 and 2010. This was the most difficult of all of them."

Ghana coach Milovan Rajevic, who has worked wonders to put the World Cup qualifiers into their first continental final in 18 years with most of his top players injured, commented: "We are not so experienced, we wanted to win it so badly in our hearts but in the end Egyptian experience was crucial."

Egypt were unchanged from the XI that crushed Algeria 4-0 in the semi-finals save for the absence of suspended defender Mahmoud Fatalla - former Spurs midfielder Hossam Ghaly started in his place.

Ghana named an identical line-up to their last four win over Nigeria, with captain Richard Kingson taking up residence between the posts despite a late fitness scare.

The Black Stars made it to the final playing pragmatic rather than beautiful football but they began in enterprising fashion, matching the Egyptians for speed and dexterity.

In-form striker Asamoah Gyan had an early shot go high over the Pharaoh's crossbar and Serie A-based Kwadwo Asamoah had a long-range effort safely scooped up by Essam al-Hadary as the supposed 'underdogs' counterattacked with menace.

Towards the end of the first period skipper Ahmed Hassan, in his 172nd international appearance, and Emad Motaeb, failed to connect with a floating 25m Egyptian freekick into the box.

Honors even it was as the sides re-emerged after the break with the 50,000 capacity Chinese-built stadium by now three-quarters full and the near 40 degree heat which greeted the players at kick-off cooling down as night fell.

Opoku Agyemang went into Mali referee Coulibaly Koman's book for an ill-judged tackle on Ahmed al-Mohamady and, not to be outdone Egypt's Sayed, Moawad picked up a yellow card seconds later for handball.

Koman had his hand in his pocket again to fish out a card for al-Mohamady after a collision with Opoku.

The game badly needed a goal but what it got was another booking, this time Ghaly for pulling Asamoah.

Shehata brought on supersub Gedo with 20 minutes left hoping the Al-Ittihad striker would repeat his magic.

Ghana's best chance came in the 78th minute when al-Hadary did well to punch away Gyan's lethal-looking 28m freekick as Ghana's youngsters had Egypt's red shirts on the run.

Then, unbelievably, with the game heading towards extra-time, Gedo conjured up the decisive goal with a sublime 1-2 with Zidan down the left to slot an angled shot past Kingson.

Source: China Daily/Agencies
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