Mohamed Homos headed home a 40th minute header and the Egyptian side made the lone goal stand up under relentless pressure to defeat Italy 1-0 at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Thursday. Goalkeeper Essam El Hadary provided an inspirational cleansheet.
Egypt took the advantage in the 40th minute when an unmarked Homos rose to head in a corner kick from Abo Terika. Homos perfectly played the ball low and nicked it off goalpost which Buffon could only watch.
In the second half, the Azzurri applied the pressure looking for the equalizer and it was El Hadary’s opportunity to come up big. The keeper made several saves down the stretch with three huge saves coming on seemingly unstoppable chances.
Two came from Vincenzo Iaquinta. The Juventus striker set himself up on the first quickly turning away from pressure 10 yards out with only El Hadary to beat only to see the GK get a leg on the shot destined for the far post. The second opportunity came later in the half when Iaquinta one touched a ball at the far post only to see an off balance GK get a hand on the ball and keep it clear of the line.
Second half substitute Riccardo Montolivo was robbed on the third great chance. Luca Toni pulled the defense to him on the left side of the box before slotting the ball back to an unmarked Montolivo at the penalty spot but El Hadary was able to get a hand on the ball.
And as with any good goalkeeping performance there is always help and in this match it was when El Hadary was beaten on a cross only to see it hit the corner of the woodwork and bounce clear.
Egypt started the match full of confidence having coming moments from sharing the points with Brazil in their opener and did well to share possession well into the first half but were unable to find the final touch to truly threaten Buffon’s goal.
The best threat from the Azzurri came when Tuesday’s hero Giuseppi Rossi blasted a left footed ball from 18-yards out that forced El Hadary to parry the dipping ball over the crossbar.
The win makes Group B an open race for who will advance along with Brazil with all teams still in reach of a chance to advance to the semifinals.