DOHA – The quarter-final jigsaw at the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 now has half of its pieces in place after Egypt, Algeria and Morocco followed hosts Qatar in securing a last-eight berth with a game to spare.
Each qualified in fine style, with the Atlas Lions and the Pharaohs especially impressive in putting four and five unanswered goals past Jordan and Sudan respectively.
Pharaohs stun Sudan 5-0
In a match heavily dominated by the Pharaohs, striker Ahmed Refaat, winger Ahmed Sayed Zizo, defender Mahmoud el-Wensh, forward Hussein Faisal and striker Mohamed Sherif were the scorers.
Sudan saw their players Yasir Mozamil and Faris Abdallah receiving red cards as they play the best part of second-half with nine players.
When striker Refaat sent a wonderful right-foot free-kick crashing back off the crossbar just four minutes into Egypt’s 5-0 win over Sudan, it seemed we’d narrowly missed out on one of the goals of the tournament.
But the Egypt forward had other ideas. When the panicked clearance that followed spun and looped in his direction, Refaat adjusted his body in an instant and – with his left foot this time, and from an even greater distance – smashed home an unstoppable volley.
It was a display of pure, glorious, two-footed technique that will take some beating between now and the final on December 18.
Egypt joined Algeria from Group D in the tournament’s quarter-finals. Both teams top Group D with six points, with the same goal difference and the same number of goals scored, as they both reach the quarter-finals ahead of their clash on Tuesday.
Qatar hosts the FIFA Arab Cup between November 30 and December 18 with the participation of 16 Arab nations.
“We played at a very high tempo, with a lot of intensity, especially in the first half. The fans must be proud of the players,” Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz said after the match.
“I know that I am very proud of them. They have taken their opportunity here and are showing that they are quality players.
“Now they must rest and move forward to face Algeria. Both teams have had great results; now it’s time to decide which of us finishes top of the group”.
Elsewhere, Algeria won their second game in the tournament after beating Lebanon 2-0 at the Al-Janoub Stadium.
Algeria midfielder Yacine Brahimi opened the scoring with a 68th-minute penalty.
Algeria’s lead was put at risk when Houssem Mrezigue was sent off after receiving a second yellow card with 12 minutes to play.
Lebanon’s man advantage was short-lived as Kassem el-Zein was sent off for two bookable offences, leaving both teams with 10-men.
Tayeb Meziani sealed victory for Algeria with a composed finish in injury time, after being sent clean though on the Lebanon goal.
“Scoring at the World Cup and then at the Arab Cup makes me extremely happy,” Brahimi told FIFA.com. “I hope that’s not the end of me scoring here, as I’d love to get more goals.”
Moroccan beats Jordan 4-0
Morocco defeated Jordan 4-0 at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium with a seemingly endless barrage of goals starting from the 4th minute.
The opening goal was scored by Yahya Jabrane, who finished a poorly deflected ball from Jordan’s keeper to open up the scorecard.
Goal number two was scored in the 25th minute by defender Badr Banoun who tapped in and finished a shot from his teammate striker Waleed Azaro that was going wide.
One more goal was scored before the half by Mohamed Chibi, who hit a spectacle of a strike from just outside the box to beat the keeper far post.
The closing goal was scored in the 88th by Soufiane Rahimi who shared in the glory of his teammates with a well-placed penalty kick that sent the keeper in the opposite direction and solidified the win for Morocco.