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Pharaohs' dream is shattered
October 15th, 2013 6:48PM

TAGS:  ghana, world cup 2014


[WORLD CUP 2014 QUALIFYING: Africa] Even if he's still around for the second leg of the Egypt-Ghana World Cup 2014 qualifying series, Bob Bradley has the unenviable task of preparing a team whose dream has been shattered.

For two years, Bradley nurtured the World Cup hopes of a nation in turmoil, leading the Pharaohs against all odds in the final round of qualifying with six wins in six games.

But the Pharaohs were blown away Tuesday in Kumasi. Fact is, their 6-1 loss to Ghana could have been a lot, lot worse but for the goalkeeping of Sherif Ekramy and his replacement, Ahmed Elshenawi.

Egypt's shaky backline had no chance against the Black Stars, led by veteran stars Asamoah Gyan, Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien. Gyan, whose goal eliminated the USA from the 2010 World Cup, put Ghana ahead in the fifth minute but it could have had two or three goals by then.

An own goal made it 2-0 in the 22nd minute, but the Pharaohs miraculously got back in the game when veteran Mohamed Aboutreika scored from the penalty spot in the 41st minute. But Egyptian hopes of a close result were quickly dashed as the excellent Abdul Majeed Waris scored on a header off a free kick to send the Black Stars into the locker room with a 3-1 lead.

It was all Ghana in the second half as Gyan added a second goal, Muntari scored from the penalty spot and 20-year-old sub Christian Atsu finished off the scoring in the 89th minute.

The six goals were the most Egypt has conceded in 85 World Cup qualifiers. The previous record was five in the second leg of their series with Italy in 1954.

The Egyptian newspaper Ahram quoted Bradley as saying the dream of qualifying for the World Cup was nearly impossible but Egypt still had a chance.

There was speculation that Bradley would be forced out before the return game, but an Egyptian federation spokesperson said he'd likely remain in charge so the federation would not have to play an early release clause.

After the Ghana Football Association protested about the second leg being played in Cairo, FIFA gave Egyptian federation until Oct. 28 to guarantee security for the game, scheduled to be played Nov. 19.

FIRST LEG, Results:
Oct. 12
Burkina Faso 3 Algeria 2
Ivory Coast 3 Senegal 1
Oct. 13
Ethiopia 1 Nigeria 2
Tunisia 0 Cameroon 0
Oct. 15
Ghana 6 Egypt 1

SECOND LEG, Schedule:
Nov. 16
Nigeria vs. Ethiopia
Senegal vs. Ivory Coast
Nov. 17
Cameroon vs. Tunisia   
Nov. 19
Egypt vs. Ghana
Algeria vs. Burkina Faso

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