Egypt continue winning, Nigeria also through
Egypt and Nigeria were the two teams favoured to advance to the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations from Group C and both managed to do just that on Wednesday, dpa reported.
Egypt, who had already made sure of winning the group ahead of their final game against Benin, comfortably won 2-0 in Benguela, while Nigeria put three past Mozambique in Lubango.
For the defending champions Egypt, it was their 16th game without defeat at the showpiece of African football and saw the Pharaohs finish on nine points from their three games - three more than second-placed Nigeria.
The goals for the North Africans, who dominated for most of the game and could have scored more had goalkeeper Yoann Djidonou not pulled off a number of saves, were scored by Ahmed Al Muhamadi and Emad Meteab.
Al Muhamadi opened the scoring with a speculative shot, which looked more like a cross, in the seventh minute from well over 35 metres, beating Djidonou who seemed to think the ball was going wide.
Egypt doubled their score in the 23rd minute when Djidonou pulled off a fantastic stop to deny Abdrabou Hosni, but the ball fell to Meteab, who shot goalward from an acute angle.
Although Djidonou managed to palm the ball away again, the assistant referee put up his flag as the ball had already crossed the line.
Egyptian coach Hassan Shehata brought on Mohamed Zidan in the second half after the Borussia Dortmund player had apologized to his teammates and officials for an outburst following his substitution in an earlier match and the striker soon got into the thick of things, trying to add to his side's score.
The Squirrels, who needed to win the game and hope that Mozambique beat Nigeria in the other match, finally came into the game midway through the second half, when Nigerian-born Razak Omotoyossi and Mickael Pote had a chance to get onto the score sheet, but neither managed to find the net.
Egypt could also have added to their tally, but Djidonou saved bravely from Zidan and goalscorers Meteab and Al Muhamadi.
The Pharaohs, who were already guaranteed first place in the group irrespective of the outcome of their game against Benin, where so in charge of proceedings that Shahata brought on substitute goalkeeper Abdelwahed El Sayed for El Hadary.
In the other match in Lubango, Peter Odemwingie scored a brace and substitute Obafemi Martins added a third late in the game to secure the victory over Mozambique.
Nigeria went into their final group match in Lubango knowing a draw would be enough to set up a clash against the winners of Group D next Monday.
The Super Eagles started cautiously at the Estadio Alto da Chela but still carved out the better chances in a disjointed opening period.
A mix-up in the Mozambique defence in the ninth minute gave Chinedu Obasi a shooting opportunity but goalkeeper Joao Rafael Kapango saved well.
Obasi missed another glorious opportunity for Nigeria seven minutes before the break while Almiro Lobo tested Vincent Enyeama at the other end before Odemwingie eventually broke the deadlock a minute before half-time.
The Lokomotiv Moscow striker was well off target with earlier long-range efforts but this time was given all the time in the world to compose himself before beating Kapango with a low shot from 25 metres.
Odemwingie doubled the Super Eagles' lead two minutes after the restart, tapping home Yakubu Ayegbeni's cross from close range to make it 2-0.
Elias Pelembe almost pulled one back for Mozambique midway through the second half but his free header from six metres was pushed away by Enyeama.
Any remaining nerves on the bench of two-time winners Nigeria were finally calmed four minutes from time when Martins, who had only come on as a replacement for Odemwingie two minutes earlier, beat Kapango with a low shot.
Substitute Obinna Nsofor could even had made it four for Nigeria but fired straight at Kapango when clean through on goal.
Egypt, who are the only team in the competition with maximum points from the group stage, will face the runners-up of Group D in Monday's quarter-final in Benguela, while Nigeria will face the winners of the group in their match in Lubango.