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Alamy Stock Photo Mo Salah (file pic).
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Mo Salah scores winner as Guinea-Bissau left fuming
Earlier, Nigeria beat Sudan 3-1 to make it two wins from two in Group D.

MO SALAH got back among the goals for Egypt on Saturday as his second-half strike handed the record seven-time African champions a crucial 1-0 win over Guinea-Bissau in Garoua that was not without controversy.

Salah’s first-time finish at the back post in the 69th minute got his and his team’s campaign in Cameroon up and running after they had lost 1-0 to Nigeria in their opening Group D game.

However, Guinea-Bissau were left fuming after a stunning 82nd-minute strike by Mama Balde was ruled out following a VAR review.

Egypt, who also hit the woodwork three times, will feel they deserved the victory on the balance of play and Carlos Queiroz’s team now need only draw their last group game against neighbours Sudan in Yaounde on Wednesday to guarantee safe passage to the last 16.

“It was a really tough game and we were a little bit lucky with the foul,” Salah admitted to broadcasters at the end of the match.

“We have to win our next game now to make sure we qualify and we will do our best to go as far as we can in the tournament.”

Salah, who had not scored in any of his previous six appearances for Egypt this season, struck the post with just 84 seconds played.

The Liverpool star was then involved at the start of the 18th-minute move that ended with Omar Marmoush cushioning the ball down for Mostafa Mohamed to send another shot off the upright.

Salah finally broke the deadlock midway through the second half when he met Amr El Solia’s floated ball to the back post with a first-time cushioned volley that Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes may feel he should have saved.

Balde thought he had equalised with a superb goal when he collected possession on the left wing, cut inside and unleashed a tremendous effort from just inside the box into the far corner.

However, the referee ruled out the goal after reviewing the images, judging that Balde had grappled Egypt right-back Omar Kamal to the ground.

It was a let-off for the Pharaohs, who also survived in injury time when the lively Moreto Cassama’s piledriver was saved by Mohamed El Shenawy.

The small west African nation of Guinea-Bissau are appearing at their third straight AFCON having never qualified before 2017, but they are left still searching for their first win at the tournament after eight attempts.

Earlier, Nigeria cruised into the Africa Cup of Nations knockout phase with a game to spare after sweeping Sudan aside 3-1 to make it two wins from two in Group D.

Samuel Chukwueze struck in the third minute in Garoua and Taiwo Awoniyi doubled the lead by scoring his first Nigeria goal on the stroke of half-time.

Moses Simon added a third right at the start of the second half, with Walieldin Khidir converting a consolation spot-kick for Sudan.

Nigeria top the section with six points ahead of their final group game against Guinea-Bissau on Wednesday. Sudan have one point and must beat record seven-time champions Egypt to potentially advance.

Former Super Eagles star Augustine Eguavoen, in temporary charge after last month’s sacking of German coach Gernot Rohr, stuck with the same line-up that defeated Egypt 1-0 in their opening game.

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Nigeria took control with barely two minutes gone when Nantes winger Simon controlled a long throw into the box by Ola Aina, teeing up Chukwueze to steer past Sudan goalkeeper Ali Abu Eshrein.

William Troost-Ekong, the Nigeria captain, saw his volley kept out superbly from a free-kick, and Sudan rode their luck again moments later when Joe Aribo hit the post and Simon poked the rebound against a defender sat on the line.

Nigeria grabbed a second goal in slightly fortunate circumstances as Troost-Ekong headed Kelechi Iheanacho’s cross against a defender, the ball ricocheting off the head of Awoniyi and squirming in under the keeper.

Simon all but secured the victory 34 seconds after half-time when he combined with Awoniyi before tapping home after bursting into the area.

Sudan cut the deficit 20 minutes from time when they were awarded a penalty following a VAR review as Aina was punished for a foul on Mustafa Mohammed, with Khidir tucking away from the spot.

Originally published at 19.16; Updated at 21.22

– © AFP 2022

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