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2017 AFCON: Mali, Egypt Draw As El Hadary Sets Record

2017 AFCON: Mali, Egypt Draw As El Hadary Sets Record

By James Agberebi:

Seven-time Africa Cup of Nations champions Egypt were held to an exciting 0-0 draw by Mali in Group D of the Gabon 2017 AFCON on Tuesday.

It was a game that was full of intensity but saw little in terms of goalscoring opportunities.

It also saw legendary Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary become the oldest player ever to play at the Africa Cup of Nations age 44 years after replacing first choice keeper Ahmed El Shenawy who went off injured.

The draw means Egypt, who knocked Nigeria out in the qualifiers, and Mali are behind Ghana, who stay top of Group D on three points, while Uganda are bottom with no point.

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Mali had the first real chance of the game in the 15th minute through Moussa Marega whose long cross almost crept into the corner of Egypt's goal but Ahmed El Shenawy scrabbled to palm the ball away for a corner.

In the 25th minute, Egypt were forced to make a change as El Shenawy had to go off for the El Hadary after sustaining an injury.

Mali continued to edge play but couldn't find the break through.

Nine minutes into the second half Egypt had the game's beat chance to open the scoring through Marwan Mohsen's close range header but Oumar Sissoko made a world class save to punch the ball away for a corner.

Ousmane Coulibaly went close for Mali on 79 minutes only to see his header go over the bar.

Mali finished the stronger between the two teams as they went in search of the opener but Egypt's defence held firm.

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