Argentina stay on top
© Foto-net

Argentina strengthened their position at the summit of Group C with a hard-fought 4-2 win over Egypt in Brasilia.

The North Africans, beaten 1-0 by Guatemala in their opening Brazil 2008 fixture, proved worthy opposition for the Albiceleste but once again they ultimately emerged with nothing to show for their efforts.

There was little to separate the sides during some cagey opening exchanges but the introduction of the dangerous Marcelo Gimenez served to inject some much-needed spark into Argentina's play. With nine minutes played, a clever Gimenez back-heel came close to producing the first goal of the game, but the Egyptian keeper Hema was equal to the test.

Egypt were attempting to soak up Argentinian pressure and hit on the counter-attack, and while this ploy worked on occasion, their gameplan suffered a serious blow when the South Americans took a 17th-minute lead. And it was no surprise that the scorer was Gimenez, who followed up his hat-trick against China PR in Argentina's opener with an opportunistic toe-poke past the helpless Hema.

Egypt, however, hit back within a minute, Ahmed El Agouz restoring parity with a well-struck shot from eight metres. Hopes of an unlikely victory were then increased two minutes into the second half when the Africans snatched the lead, Ramadan Samasry capitalising on some shoddy defending to slot the ball home.

Argentina rallied quickly though, and were level within seconds when Diego Giustozzi converted a well-worked free-kick. Thereafter, only one side looked capable of claiming victory, with Argentina's goalkeeper Santiago Elias even lending a hand in attack.

With 32 minutes played, the pressure paid off when Matias Lucuix put the South Americans ahead following a neat passing exchange, and victory was secured in the final minute when Giustozzi rounded off a slick counter-attack.