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Egypt beat Tunisia in Nations Cup

© Reuters 2002

By Mark Gleeson

BAMAKO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Four-time winners Egypt put their African Nations Cup campaign back on track as midfielder Hazem Imam scored the only goal in his side's 1-0 win over Tunisia on Friday. The result has left World Cup finalists Tunisia teetering on the brink of elimination with just one point from their opening two matches in group D.

Egypt squandered several chances, particularly teenage striker Ahmed Hossam whose first touch let him down twice with only the goalkeeper to beat, before an unmarked Imam finished off a series of slick passing moves to score in the 23rd minute.

The former Udinese player's goal was only the sixth goal in 11 games of the tournament. Tunisia's defence looked static during the match and their performance on Friday offered little to suggest they would be any threat at the upcoming World Cup finals, where they share a group with co-hosts Japan, Russia and Belgium.

Tunisia had two goal-scoring opportunities in the game. But a wild shot by midfielder Kaies Ghodhbane went sailing wide, before striker Jamel Zabi had the ball in the back of the Egyptian net six minutes into the second half but the goal was disallowed because he was offside. Six cautions from Spanish referee Arturo Ibanez characterised a scrappy second period although there was little of the expected rough play that has dominated derbies between north African teams in past tournaments.

Egypt could have added a second goal a minute from time when fullback Yaser Radwan's angled effort came crashing back off the woodwork before Mohamed Barakat then tripped over the ball as he attempted to seize on the rebound. Tunisia's defeat adds pressure on new coach Henri Michel, who had been hired in November to take the side to the World Cup finals.

Before Friday's game he had said his team had limitations upfront and in defence and would find it difficult to get a result against traditional rivals Egypt. Senegal, another World Cup finalist, remain group leaders after the result and play their second match on Saturday against Zambia.

Reports provided by

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Thursday, 31 January
Blatter tells South America to rethink Copa America
Goalless Tunisia out after draw with Senegal
Egypt cruise into African quarter-finals
Argentina's Saviola hoping for World Cup place
Scotland and Ireland pressing ahead with Euro 2008 bid
Cameroon's players tired of coaching change
Impressive Cameroon ready to retain African title
Titov believes Russia can impress at World Cup
Antonioli gives up World Cup dream
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Italy striker Inzaghi on comeback trail
Vietnam appoint Frenchman Letard as under-23 coach
Wednesday, 30 January
FAI on the verge of agreeing new McCarthy deal
Spain finalise World Cup preparation details
Denmark's Jensen in doubt for Saudi game
Sweden's Hedman gives up alcohol
Tuesday, 29 January
Nonda returns to lead DR Congo into last eight
French FA chief says Lemerre could stay until 2004
Iran name Ivankovic as new coach
Algeria's Tasfaout recovers after swallowing tongue
Hassan finally arrives to boost Egypt's Cup campaign
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Former Israeli FA chairman Haim Haberfeld dies
World Cup finalists South Africa in must win game
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Monday, 28 January
Weah, Africa's greatest footballer, calls time on Liberia
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Mpenzas hope to make World Cup a family affair
Slovenia's Pavlin to miss Hong Kong trip
Two teenage Croat players may go to World Cup
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Sunday, 27 January
Saudi Arabia beat Oman to keep Gulf Cup hopes alive
Senegal assistant coach handed one-match touchline ban
Saturday, 26 January
Two Cuban soccer players still missing in California
Ronaldo return put back three weeks
Qatar end Gulf Cup hopes of defending champions Kuwait
Kahn replaces Bierhoff as German captain
Morocco to continue selection policy despite tensions
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