Nigeria and Egypt secured their safe passage out of Group D and into the knockout stages of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2022.
The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2022 knockout stages is becoming clearer now. And on Wednesday (January 19) it was the turn of two continental heavyweights to book their tickets to the second round.
This is because both Nigeria and Egypt secured their safe passage out of Group D and into the knockouts. Egypt ensured their qualification with a laboured 1-0 win over Sudan.
Nigeria, on the other hand, easily beat Guinea-Bissau to ensure they end the group stage with a perfect win record. They finished atop the group with 9 points.
Both of these nations are among the favourites to actually win the tournament. Therefore, them making the next round is of little surprise.
That being said, their recent form has been contrasting to say the least. Whereas Nigeria have been a dominant force, Egypt have at times looked disjointed.
Egypt’s star man Mohamed Salah hasn’t looked anywhere near his imperious best for the national team. This is worse considering the fine form he’s been in for Liverpool.
Their win over rivals Sudan came due to Mohamed Abdelmoneim, who himself was brought in because of injury woes. He headed home after 38 minutes and the goal turned out to be enough.
That being said, the manner of the win will do little to inspire any confidence in the Lions. They lost their first group game to Nigeria and only registered a narrow win over Guinea-Bissau.
Now they needed another narrow win just to secure their progress. However, the team retain hopes of turning things around as the tournament goes on.
“There aren’t any more easy matches in the competitions, so we are just please to go through and believe we can only get stronger,” Egypt defender Ahmed Hegazy said after the match.
However, there were no such difficulties for Nigeria. The Super Eagles have been a team in fine form and they continued on in the same vein.
Sadiq Umar scored his first goal for Nigeria to give them the lead. He tapped in a simple finish after a wonderful pass from Kelechi Iheanacho.
Outside of the boot genius 🎩
— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 🏆 (@CAF_Online) January 20, 2022
William Troost Ekong then also scored from close range after Moses Simon had hit the crossbar to make it 2-0. In the end, that was enough to ensure their safe passage into the next round.
Who Egypt and Nigeria face in the next round is still to be decided.