Spectators at the Cairo International Stadium on Sunday must have thought they were about to witness the biggest shock of the first weekend of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ second-round African qualifiers. With 68 minutes gone, Egypt were trailing their visitors from Congo DR 1-0.
Five days after managing to turn the tide and salvage a 2-1 victory in that game, the six-time African champions raised their confidence levels by inflicting a 4-0 win on Djibouti at the El Hadj Hassan Gouled Aptidon Stadium on Friday.
However, it still took 40 minutes for Hassan Shehata's men to carve out the opener. Fresh from scoring the vital equaliser against the Congolese, it was Zamalek forward Amr Zaki who finally broke the deadlock.
That seemed to settle the Egyptians and 20 minutes into the second half they had already scored thrice more. Hosni Abd Rabo hit the first of these from the penalty spot after 47 minutes, before Ahmed Hassan added goal number three seven minutes later and Ahmed Abdelmalk completed the scoring on 65 minutes.
Top of Group 12 on six points, but having played one match more than their rivals, Egypt can now afford to relax a little as they look forward to their next outing in Malawi on 14 June. For their part, Djibouti entertain Congo DR next Friday, hoping to belie their status as the lowest-ranked team on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking still involved in the second round.