Mohamed Salah scores again as Egypt maintain perfect Cup of Nations record with Uganda win

Egypt's Mohamed Salah scores during his country's African Cup of Nations group A match against Uganda in Cairo, Egypt. (AP)
Updated 01 July 2019

Mohamed Salah scores again as Egypt maintain perfect Cup of Nations record with Uganda win

  • Pre-tournament favorites Egypt will remain in Cairo for the round of 16
  • Prolific Liverpool scorer Salah put Egypt ahead against the run of play on 36 minutes

CAIRO: Mohamed Salah scored from a free-kick as host nation Egypt defeated Uganda 2-0 in Cairo Sunday to win Group A at the Africa Cup of Nations with a perfect three-win record.
Pre-tournament favorites Egypt will remain in Cairo for the round of 16 and play one of the best four third-place finishers next Saturday.
After prolific Liverpool scorer Salah put Egypt ahead against the run of play on 36 minutes, captain Ahmed Elmohamady added a second just before half-time.
Uganda had plenty of possession in both halves and often threatened to score without managing to put the ball in the net.
Egypt topped the final standings with nine points and Uganda came next with four to also qualify automatically for the knockout phase.

The Democratic Republic of Congo came third with three points after trouncing Zimbabwe 4-0 in another Cairo stadium.
Elmohamady said: “Nine points out of three games is something Egypt is used to — the difficult part is what comes next.
“As of tomorrow, we will start to prepare, regardless of the team we will meet in the last 16.
“We scored five goals in three matches and kept three clean sheets. For me these are good numbers.”
Uganda were more impressive than Egypt for the first 30 minutes on a hot night at a packed 75,000-capacity Cairo International Stadium.
Goalkeeper Mohamed Elshenawy did well to push a sizzling, long-range Allan Kyambadde drive over at the expense of a corner.
Abdu Lumala was a constant threat for the Cranes and had a shot and a header saved in quick succession with the Pharaohs defense not its normal assured self.
Salah then turned the tide toward the record seven-time African champions by lifting a free-kick over a defensive wall and past goalkeeper Denis Onyango into the corner of the net.
It was the second goal of the tournament for the Egyptian idol and Elmohamady notched his second in first-half stoppage time.
A low cross eluded two Egyptians, including Salah, but fell to Elmohamady, who unleashed a low shot that took a slight deflection en route to the far corner of the net.
It was a massive blow for the Ugandans, who did not deserve to be two goals behind as they walked to the changerooms.
The pace of Salah gave him a chance to score his second goal soon after the break, but Onyango made a superb one-hand block to foil the 2018 African Footballer of the Year.
Uganda regained their composure to cause constant problems for the home team, but lacked a clinical finisher like Salah.
Earlier, Africa Cup of Nations newcomers Madagascar pulled off a stunning upset of powerhouses Nigeria with a 2-0 win over the three-time former champions to clinch a place in the last 16.
Lalaina Nomenjanahary gave Madagascar a shock 12th-minute lead in Alexandria and Charles Andriamatsinoro sealed the victory.
At the 30 June Stadium in Cairo, the Democratic Republic of Congo put a two-loss start to the tournament behind them with a 4-0 triumph over Zimbabwe, the biggest of the competition so far.
Jonathan Bolingi punished a blunder by goalkeeper Elvis Chipezeze to head the Congolese Leopards in front on four minutes and Cedric Bakambu added a second before half-time.
China-based Bakambu netted again midway through the second half and Britt Assombalonga added a fourth.
The Congolese will know only Tuesday night after the final group matches whether they are among the best four third-place finishers and remain in the competition.


Saudi desert gears up for first Dakar rally in Asia

Updated 13 December 2019

Saudi desert gears up for first Dakar rally in Asia

  • Taking place from January 5 to 17, the 7500-kilometer adventure will be hosted in Asia for the first time
  • The race will start in Jeddah and will end in Qiddiya, Riyadh

RIYADH: There are only three weeks to go until Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 starts in Jeddah.

It will be the first time this adventurous race comes to Asia, where Saudi Arabia’s desert will play host to the 7,500-km-long rally over 13 days of action and 12 stages of challenging navigation.

Taking place from Jan. 5-17, the first edition of the rally will see more than 550 drivers from 62 nations explore the vast and formidable desert terrains of the Kingdom.

“We were really excited by the beautiful landscape. The deserts were exactly what we expected with their dunes, nice mountains and small canyons. We have some stages along the sea also, so it will be a mixed landscape, which is very interesting,” 13-time Dakar Rally winner Stéphane Peterhansel said.

FASTFACT

Taking place from Jan. 5-17, the first edition of the rally will see more than 550 drivers from 62 nations explore the vast and formidable desert terrains of the Kingdom.

More than 550 drivers from 62 countries will participate in the 12-stage race, which runs from Jan. 5-17. 

“Saudi Arabia is a big country, so there are a lot of possibilities. It has many deserts, which makes it the perfect place to organize Dakar,” the French driver added.

Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 gets underway in Jeddah before drivers and crews navigate their way through the winding dunes for 752 km.

The challenge will continue up north along the coast for nearly 900 km through the Red Sea Project until the futuristic megacity of Neom, where the journey will reach its highest point at an altitude of 1,400 meters amid a series of canyons and mountains.

A combination of sandy stretches and gravel await Dakar’s thrill-seeking competitors as they cruise through the next 676 km from Neom to AlUla in Dakar’s fourth stage, before the sandy hills of Hail put the navigation skills of competitors to the test as they descend south onto Riyadh.

A rest day in the capital will be followed by Dakar Saudi Arabia’s longest stage — 741 km — as the route takes a turn west to the center of the Kingdom’s enormous desert.

The race will take place from January 5 to 17. (Supplied)

The course will then loop back toward Haradh in the eastern governorate of Al-Ahsa, marking the entrance to the Empty Quarter and building up to the grand finale in the future entertainment, sports and cultural destination of Qiddiya, where the winner will be crowned on the final podium.

“Saudi Arabia is a very big country, and you can find almost every type of terrain in it,” Saudi driver Yazeed Al-Rajhi said.

Spanish rally driver Carlos Sainz added: “I think everyone finds it very exciting. It seems to be really what Dakar needs, and we are hoping to enjoy it and have a good race.”

The Saudi Federation of Automobiles and Motorcycles officially confirmed route details of the rally at an international press conference in Paris. 

Dakar Saudi Arabia 2020 will see pilots drive specially modified vehicles, trucks, quads, SxS (four-wheel drive, off-road vehicles) and motorbikes, designed to handle the 12 stages of the varied, challenging terrains.