Egypt's 38-game unbeaten streak at home in the Africa Cup of Nations, which dated back to the introduction of the qualifiers 47 years ago, ended Saturday when Bob Bradley's Pharaohs suffered a 3-2 loss to the Central African Republic. The result is being called the biggest upset in the history of Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.
The result was in sharp contrast to encouraging results in the opening two games of 2014 World Cup qualifying: a 2-0 win over Egypt at home and a dramatic 3-2 stoppage-time victory in Guinea.
"My players were exhausted after the clash with Guinea only five days ago," Bradley said. "I did not expect that performance at all. We had many faults during the game, but this display is not a true reflection of our team as we played much better this month in the World Cup qualifiers. This defeat is a harsh lesson for me and my players not to underestimate any opponent."
He blamed the loss on poor passing that led the loss of possession on two of the Central African Republic goals and poor defending. "I saw a lot of things tonight that made me unhappy," Bradley added, "and we need to analyze this match thoroughly so that to improve ahead of the return match later this month."
Egypt will need to win the second leg by two goals to be assured of even advancing to the final round of qualifying for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.