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Friday, 19 January 2024 06:32

Pharoahs earn second AFCON group stage draw against Black Stars.

By Rob Stevens.

Egypt fought back twice to draw 2-2 with Ghana in Group B clash at the Africa Cup of Nations after a lively second half at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.

Mohammed Kudus blasted in to put Ghana ahead in first-half stoppage time, a minute after Pharaohs captain Mohamed Salah was forced off through injury.

Omar Marmoush levelled but West Ham's Kudus quickly restored the Black Stars' lead with a deflected effort.

However, Mostafa Mohamed stabbed in to give Egypt their second point and leave Ghana winless after two Group B games.

There were late chances at either end to win it, with Ghana goalkeeper Richard Ofori saving Emam Ashour's shot before Pharaohs keeper Mohamed El Shenawy failed to clear a corner which Iddrisu Baba could not divert goalwards.

Chris Hughton's Black Stars lost their opening game against Cape Verde and the four-time continental champions are on the brink of a second successive group-stage exit from the Afcon finals.

Cape Verde will secure top spot in Group B if the islanders beat Mozambique on Tuesday (14:00 GMT), with both Egypt and Ghana waiting to find out what they will require from the final round of games on Monday.

The 24-team format means three points may be enough to qualify as one of four best third-placed sides.

Salah had netted a 97th-minute penalty to salvage 2-2 draw for Egypt against Mozambique in their first outing, but the forward was a peripheral figure against Ghana before sinking to the turf in frustration and then trudging off.

The injury will be a concern to both the North Africans, who were runners-up at the 2021 Afcon, and Liverpool given the 31-year-old's central role in their Premier League title challenge.

Egypt coach coach Rui Vitoria said: "We don't know yet what is the problem. I hope it is not a big problem. "Now, I don't know because it is early to see something. I think it is not dangerous but let's see if Salah recovers."

Moments later Kudus, who had missed Ghana's opener through injury, provided the only spark in a first half which was low on quality.

The 23-year-old received the ball just outside the penalty area D and showed quick feet to move away from two defenders before unleashing a left-footed effort which flew inside the left-hand upright.

The second half was full of incident and Mohamed Abdelmonem thought he had equalised six minutes after the break from Ahmed Hegazi's header across goal, but the assistant's flag went up for an offside in the build-up and the decision was confirmed by the video assistant referee.

Egypt, record seven-time Afcon winners, did level in the 69th minute when Marmoush pounced on an errant backpass from Inaki Williams, rounded Ofori and slotted in from a narrow angle.

But Ghana were back in front just 141 seconds later as Denis Odoi picked out Kudus in the area and his left-footed strike deflected off the shoulder of the unfortunate Abdelmonem and into the bottom left-hand corner.

The Black Stars could once again not hold on to their lead, though, as Trezeguet robbed Osman Bukari and set up Mohamed for a clever finish through Ofori's legs - and an outcome that left both sides with work to do to in their final group games.