Egypt has begun its bid for the eighth Africa Cup of Nations title with a hard fought 1-0 win against a spirited Zimbabwe side. The hosts made a rollicking start against the Warriors, forcing their keeper into a string of good saves.
Soon, Zimbabwe found their footing in the game and organised themselves into a compact defensive unit.
The Egyptians' vibrancy in attack faded out after 20 minutes into the game- and they struggled to create clear cut chances against the opposing centre-back duo of Mudimu and Hadebe.
Not only did they defended well, but the Zimbabweans also had a lucid plan of counter-attacking from the wider areas.
The Egyptians had to be alert defensively to cut out the attacking threats of Ovidy Karuru and Nyasha Musekwi.
A moment of individual brilliance from Mohamed Trezeguet put Egypt ahead and the goal settled the home crowd which was becoming anxious.
The second half was all about killing the game by keeping the possession and being disciplined in their positions.
With much said and done, let's look through some of the player's individual outings in the AFCON's opening fixture.
#5 Hit: Edmore Sibanda
Edmore Sibanda was the sole reason for Zimbabwe staying in the game after Egypt's relentless attacking phase in the starting 20 minutes. The 35-year-old made a brave clearance off Salah's cross by punching it away from the penalty area.
Sibanda made a stunning save to deny Ali Said from scoring in the eighth minute after a neat passing move initiated by Mohammed Salah. The Witbank Spurs goalie was quick to sniff out the danger and charged from his lines to clear the through balls projected towards his side of the goal.
Despite his best efforts, Edmore was unable to stop Trezeguet's well-placed shot- the only goal scored in the match. The veteran shot-stopper collided with Marwan Mohsen and injured his right foot. He carried on playing and produced another remarkable save to deny Salah.
It was a pity that Sibanda couldn't play the full ninety minutes as he succumbed to his injury and got substituted in the 79th minute.