Egypt beat Belarus to reach quarters
© AFP

Egypt have cruised to a 3-1 win over Belarus at Glasgow’s Hampden Park to set up a quarter-final clash with either Japan or Honduras at Old Trafford.

Three goals in the space of 15 second-half minutes from Mohamed Salah, Marwan Mohsen and Mohamed Aboutrika gave the Pharaohs a well-deserved victory and enabled them to leapfrog their eastern European opponents into second place in Group C.

Though Egypt were eventually able to enjoy their route to the last eight with a degree of comfort, that didn’t look likely during a tense first half in which they struggled to break through Belarus’ massed defensive ranks.

Arguably their best chance came ten minutes from the break when Salah’s pace saw him break through on goal and force an alert near-post save from the agile Aleksandr Gutor.

Attempting to find the speedy Salah with long balls over the top was clearly a key part of the Egyptians’ gameplan, and this tactic paid off 11 minutes into the second half when the FC Basel winger broke the deadlock.

Again his pace proved too much for the Belarus defence and, having held off his pursuers, the 20-year-old slotted a left-footed shot low into the bottom left-hand corner.

That was the signal for the floodgates to open, and the Pharaohs doubled their lead when Mohsen side-footed home first-time from Eslam Ramadan’s inch-perfect left-footed cross.

There was no way back for the Belarussians now, and the noisy Egyptian supporters had even more cause to cheer when national hero Aboutrika tapped into the unguarded net from Omar Gaber’s unselfish centre.

Belarus went on to grab a late consolation through a powerful downward header from substitute Andrei Voronkov, but they head for home and must watch from the sidelines as Egypt’s London 2012 adventure continues into the quarter-finals.