That was quite an opener!
We definitely expected the Warriors of Zimbabwe to put up a fight, but what we got was quite spirited. The Zimbabweans pushed Egypt right till the very end of the AFCON opener, and the only thing that stood between them was a lone moment of brilliance from the Egyptian #7, Mahmoud Hassan commonly known as Trezeguet.
The game was characterised by lots of wasteful forward play on both sides, crisp counter-attacking by the Zimbabweans, a resolute Edmore Sibanda, a dogged Zimbabwean defence, and a below-par Mohamed Salah. The man they call the 'Egyptian King' was heavily involved, but his final balls were evidently off the mark.
It was truly a tight contest, as the game had a total of 27 shots, with 11 overall on target. The Egyptians had a majority of the possession, but those spells were punctuated by dangerous attacking play by the Warriors. In the end, it was a game of fine margins, and the Egyptians did enough to secure the 3 points.
Below are 3 things which tipped the scales in favour of the Pharaohs.
#3 A momentary lapse in concentration
The truth is, if there are no mistakes, the goals we love to see so much wouldn't occur. Yesterday, Warriors captain Knowledge Musona made one such mistake deep in his own half.
The Zimbabwean skipper attempted to dribble past Egypt's Ashraf towards the end of the 1st half but lost the ball to Trezeguet, and the Egyptian winger pounced on the mistake with ruthless efficiency. A neat one-two, a nifty dribble in the Zimbabwean penalty area, followed by a precise finish was how Trezeguet made Musona pay for that costly mistake.
The scales really could have tipped either way, but at the upper echelons of football, the little margins matter, and any mistake is usually pounced on with brute force.