Ten-man Chile punish wasteful Egypt
© AFP

Chile survived a late red card to beat Egypt 2-1 and take an early lead in Group E in Antalya’s Akdeniz University Stadium. The South Americans were grateful to their north African opponents for some wasteful finishing, with Egypt spurning several terrific chances that should have earned them at least a share of the spoils.

Chile dominated the early exchanges but they fell victim in ten minutes to a classic sucker punch. Hassan Ahmed was the supplier, winning the ball midway inside the South Americans’ half and sliding a perfectly weighted through ball for Mahmoud Kahraba to slot past Dario Melo from ten yards. Quick and rangy, Kahraba continued to cause problems for Chile throughout the first half, and could have gone into the half-time break with three or four goals to his name.

That he didn’t was largely due to poor finishing, volleying wildly over from ten yards after springing the offside trap and then heading wide at the back post when it seemed certain the net would bulge. His profligacy was punished after 25 minutes when Chile drew level. There was, though, a huge element of fortune in the goal, with Nicolas Castillo’s right-foot shot from 14 yards taking a wicked deflection off Egypt captain Rabia Ramy that sent the ball looping up and over the stranded and helpless Awed Moussad.

Egypt, though, continued to create the better chances after the break and twice within the space of a minute wasted glorious headed opportunities. The first was sent into the side-netting by Trezeget, while the second – and better – of the two was bulleted wide by Hassan Ahmed with the goal at his mercy. Again, these misses did not go unpunished. With 14 minutes remaining, Chile substitute Christian Bravo scored a brilliant winner, controlling Rabello’s knock-down, wriggling across the penalty area and smashing an unstoppable right-foot shot into the far corner of the net.

And while they were reduced to ten men just four minutes later, when Cristian Cuevas sent off for a dangerous tackle on Saleh Gomaa, the South Americans held on for a win that leaves them well placed to qualify from Group E.