Doha, 8 December 2021 - Egypt and Algeria played a 1-1 draw at the Al Janoub Stadium last night but The Pharaohs ended as Group D winners on fair play points.
The North African rivals concluded the first stage of the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021 on seven points and with the same number of goal difference and goals scored.
Fouls in the stoppage time cost Algeria, who took the lead through Mohamed Tougai in the 19th minute, with Amr El Sulaya leveling the score for Egypt with a 60th minute penalty.
At 90+2 minutes, both the pre-tournament favourites were even on fair play record also but a caution for Algeria’s El Arabi Soudani took Egypt ahead. Four minutes later, Algerian youngster Yacine Titraoui had his yellow upgraded to a red card following a review by video assistant referee.
Egypt will take on Jordan while Algeria face Group C winners Morocco in the quarter-finals on Saturday.
Algeria – coached by Madjid Bougherra – were clearly a better side controlling the game in the first half while Egypt were strong in the final session.
The battle of the Arab Cup giants began with top pace and soon after the kick off, Algerian winger Youcef Belaili called for a penalty for a tackle by Egypt’s right-back Akram Tawfik following an attack from the left.
The teams were pumped up with fans of both the North African sides creating an electric atmosphere at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 venue.
Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz was forced to make an early substitution as Zamalek winger Mostafa Fathi replaced injured Ayman Ashraf in the ninth minute.
While Algerian midfielder Yacine Brahimi was amusing the fans with his superb dribbling, Egypt pushed for a goal through El Sulaya, who attempted a shot from a distance that just sailed over the goal. Hussein Faisal’s threatening run inside the box was also foiled.
Tougai, then put Algeria ahead after receiving a cross from Belaili at the far post, following a touched-on free kick. The ES Tunis player hit a low shot, which deflected off Ahmed Fattouh to beat goalkeeper Mohamed El Shennawi.
After taking the lead, Algeria intensified pressure on Egypt but El Sulaya gave them a scare with a long-range shot that just sailed over the crossbar in the 24th minute.
Just before the half-hour mark, The Pharaohs had to make another unscripted substitution after injured Ahmed Hegazi paved the way for Ahmed Yassin.
Despite the injury stoppages, the match continued with a good pace as Algerians continued to test El Shennawi.
The Desert Warriors wrapped up a dominant first half show with an attack from Brahimi, which was thwarted by Hamdi Fathi in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
They started the second session with a run from Belaili, who dribbled past two defenders but hit a shot on the side net. Brahimi then fired a curling free-kick that just missed the target.
Egypt fought back and got a breakthrough following a corner in a goal-mouth melee.
The Egyptians appealed for a penalty, which was awarded to them after VAR consultation as a goal-bound shot struck Tougai’s arm.
El Sulaya managed to score the equaliser from the spot kick although Algerian goalkeeper Rais M’Bolhi managed a touch.
The Pharaohs showed significant improvement after the goal, keeping the Algerians on the back foot with their attacks.
Mostafa Fathi launched a bouncing shot from a distance that narrowly missed the target in the 73rd minute after Mahmoud El Wensh failed to collect a cross at the far post.
El Sulaya received a yellow card for a rash tackle in the middle, ten minutes before the time.
Both sides looked for a late winner, producing thrilling action before fouls put Algeria second in the group.
In other match at the Education City Stadium, Lebanon defeated Sudan 1-0 after an own goal by Ali Abdallah Abu Eshrein in the 76th minute. Both the Group D teams failed to advance to the quarter-finals.