Mozambique trouble African giants Egypt; Late Salah penalty rescues the Pharaohs to 2-2 draw

* As Garry Rodrigues scores late for Cape Verde to stun Ghana with a 2-1 victory

* Defending champions, Senegal kick off their title defense this afternoon against The Gambia

Maravi Express

Egypt captain Mohammed Salah scored late from the penalty spot to rescue Egypt from an imminent shock defeat by Mozambique in their opening group D game of the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) Côte d’Ivoire 2023.


The 7-time champions scored first two minutes into the game thanks to Mohamed Mostafa’s strike after Mo Salah failed to connect to a cross from Mohammed Hamdi but Mostafa was just there to swivel a shot into the bottom corner.

Mozambique came close to getting an equalizer after Mohamed Abdelmonem was forced to put the ball into his own net but El Shenawy managed to save the situation.

The Mambas came into the second half much stronger that saw Witness Quembo heading home the equalizer with a bullet header that beat the palm of El Shenawy after a lovely cross from Domingos on the 55th minutes

This was Mozambique’s first in the last 14 years at the AFCON and three minutes later, Clesio Bauque added the Mamba’s second when he broke through the Egyptian to set up a one-on-one with Mohamed El Shenawy to score.

Then Domingos Macandza brought down Mostafa Mohammed in the closing stages of the game and after VAR review, Egypt were awarded a penalty and Mo Salah stepped up to score and draw level.

Egypt will play Ghana in their next on Thursday while Mozambique are up against Cape Verde.


Meanwhile, Garry Rodrigues scored late to hand Cape Verde all three points against the Black Stars of Ghana after taking a deserved lead in the 17th minutes through Jamiro Monteiro.

Ghana’s midfielder, Majeed Ashimeru had what could have been an equalizer disallowed after VAR checks by referee Jean Jacques Ndola Ngambo but Alexander Djiku got the equalizer for Ghana, 11 minutes into the second half.

The defender headed in from a Jordan Ayew ball to draw Ghana level and after scoring, Djiku cleared his lines when a Cape Verde effort beat Richard Ofori. 

With just 6 minutes to end the game, substitute Garry Rodrigues restored Cape Verde’s lead after he capitalized on a defensive blunder from the Ghanaian defense to tap into an empty net.


Defending champions, Senegal kick off their title defense this afternoon against The Gambia in what what has been deemed as the group of death consisting Cameroon and Guinea.

Nothing less than a second consecutive title would a smile on coach Aliou Cisse and his star-studded squad that is touted as one of the tournament favourites with star players such as Sadio Mane in their arsenal. 

Interestingly, no African champion has progressed further than the round of 16 in the last six editions of the competition and another interesting fact that favours the defending champions is that they have won their opening game in each of the last four editions.

In The Gambia, Senegal meet one of the underdogs of the competition who are only making their second appearance of the competition. However, this is the same nation that reached the quarter-finals in their inaugural participation in 2021.

Sadio Mane

Speaking to CAFOnline upon their arrival, The Gambia coach Tom Saintfiet said they were aiming to do well in their second appearance and were well prepared for the competition. 

“We are delighted to arrive in Côte d’Ivoire for the second consecutive Africa Cup of Nations. We are well prepared for the competition, and we are ready for the start of the competition.

“We expect the Africa Cup of Nations finals in Côte d’Ivoire to be special and good, especially with the presence of The Gambia alongside Senegal, Guinea and Cameroon.” 

Excluding the CAF African Nations Championship (CHAN), Senegal and The Gambia last faced each other in the qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup — both games ended in draws (0-0; 1-1).

Senegal are making their 17th appearance at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations and they will be aiming to win back-to-back AFCON tournaments for the first time since Egypt’s three in a row from 2006 to 2010, although no AFCON defending champion has progressed further than the round of 16 in the last six editions of the CAF Africa Cup of Nations.

Senegal have won their opening game in each of the last four CAF Africa Cup of Nations (v Ghana in 2015, v Tunisia in 2017, v Tanzania in 2019, v Zimbabwe in 2022).


Since 2017, Senegal have kept more clean sheets than any other team in the Africa Cup of Nations (13 in 18 matches).

As per the last edition, Gambia were the only team to make it through both the preliminary round and group stage of the 2023 CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, beating Chad in the preliminaries and finishing second to Mali in the group phase.

Despite reaching the quarterfinals in AFCON 2021, Gambia never scored more than one goal in their five matches (W3 D1 L1). All three of their victories were by a 1-0 scoreline.

Sadio Mané has scored or assisted 48% of Senegal’s goals over the last three AFCONs (8 goals, 3 assists). He’s also had 97 touches in the opposition box (5.4 per game) and completed 57 dribbles (3.2 per game) since his debut in the competition in 2015, more than any other player over that period.

This is Aliou Cissé’s fourth consecutive CAF Africa Cup of Nations as Senegal head coach — under his leadership, the Lions of Teranga have been quarter-finalists in 2017, beaten finalists in 2019 and champions in 2022.

Senegal have also won more games (11) and kept more clean sheets (13) at AFCON than any other team during the same period.—Info from CAFonline