Egypt fell to a 1-0 defeat against Tunisia in their opening group stage match of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers at Rades Stadium.
The hosts started the game strongly and were more dominant throughout the first half. They came close to scoring after 13 minutes only as Seyam Ben Youssef caught Egypt defenders off guard but his header hit the post.
Tunisia continued to create more chances and wasted several opportunities to take the lead. Around the half-hour mark, Seyam wasted another scoring chance as he failed to head the ball on target with the goal at his mercy after Egypt keeper Sherif Ekramy went out at the wrong time.
Al Ahly left-back Ali Maaloul played brilliantly in the first half and repeatedly managed to slip past AS Roma winger Mohamed Salah, pushing him back into the midfield, and his Al Ahly teammate Ahmed Fathi.
Just before half time, Fathi blocked Taha Yassine’s header from inside the six-yard box as the first half ended goalless.
Tunisia needed only three minutes after the break to take the lead as Msakni sent a silky through-ball to Yassine who sneaked in behind the defenders and slotted home from close range.
Ten minutes into the second half, the Pharaohs came close to scoring an equaliser but Abdallah El-Said’s chip shot missed the target by inches.
Egypt looked more lively after the goal and were pushing for the equaliser. However, the hosts were back in control and completely dominant again in a few minutes.
Egypt manager Hector Cuper then made a double substitution by bringing in Amr Gamal and Mostafa Fathi to replace Abdallah El-Said and Ramadan Sobhi, before introducing Amr Warda instead of Mahmoud Kahraba.
However, they were unable to make any tangible impact as the Carthage Eagles claimed a deserved victory in their first group stage match.
The Pharaohs currently sit at the bottom of Group J with no points after their other group opponents Niger and Swaziland played out a goalless draw on Saturday.