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Host Egypt start off AFCON campaign with 1-0 win over Zimbabwe
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Host Egypt start off AFCON campaign with 1-0 win over Zimbabwe

Agency News

Cairo, Jun 22 : Hosts Egypt started their Africa Cup of Nations 2019 campaign with a 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe at a fully packed Cairo International Stadium on Friday night.

Pharaohs' striker Mahmoud Hassan 'Trezeguet' netted beautiful goal in the 41st minute to secure three points for the hosts, putting them on top of the Group A.

On Saturday, DR Congo will face Uganda in the other Group A clash at the same venue.

The AFCON kicked off Friday and will go through July 19 where 24 African teams will fight for the most prestigious football title in Africa.

Before Egypt-Zimbabwe match, Egypt's President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi who was at the Stadium, gave green light for the championship, welcoming the African football teams and fans.

Roared on by some 75,000 fans at the stadium, the Pharaohs could have won by a bigger margin if they had used all the chances that came their way.

However, they got the three points as they started off their journey for a record-stretching eighth African crown.

Trezeguet, who plays for Kasimpasa in Turkey, gave the hosts a much deserved lead four minutes to the break with a peach of a goal. The winger broke down on the left before playing a quick one-two with Ayman Ashraf and unleashing a curling shot that beat the Zimbabwe keeper Edmore Sibanda.

Sibanda, who unfortunately had to come off injured with 13 minutes to play had been kept busy all through the opening exchanges and had been forced to make two good saves within the opening two minutes.

Zimbabwe had been put on the back foot by the fast paced Egyptians and they had to wait till the 36th minute for their first effort on target.

A quick free-kick was played through to Khama Billiat who came one on one with Mohammed El Shenawy, but the keeper spread his body well on the floor to block the effort for a corner.

In the second half, Egypt kept the same momentum and just four minutes in, Trezeguet forced a brilliant save off Sibanda when he found some shooting space at the edge of the box to curl in a shot that the keeper smothered behind for a corner.

In the 66th minute, Sibanda came to Zimbabwe's rescue again this time blocking an effort from Liverpool's striker Mohammed Salah who had been put through with a defense splitting pass by Trezeguet. (UNI-XINHUA)