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2023 AFCON: These 3 things made a difference in Ghana vs Egypt game

The Black Stars demonstrated a marked improvement in performance against Egypt compared to the game against Cape Verde – yet they fell short of securing a victory.

2023 AFCON: These 3 things made a difference in Ghana vs Egypt game

While some fans and experts attribute the two conceded goals to individual errors, others point the finger at coach Chris Hughton's tactical approach.

But what was the real reason? Here are three points in the Black Stars' performance that determined (or not) the outcome of the game yesterday:

In a match where a total of six players with the first name Moham(m)ed were in the starting XI (five for Egypt, one for Ghana), it's no great surprise that one of them could influence the game. And yet, this is one of the reasons why yesterday's game ended the way it did.

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On one hand, it was Mohamed Salah, who had a challenging day. He was under pressure as soon as he had the ball. As a result, he couldn't execute his feared attacking moves known from the Premier League – a rather frustrating situation for him, as he complained multiple times.

But the referee refused to listen, making it unmistakably clear during the 22nd minute. Salah ultimately failed to register a single shot on target and was then substituted shortly before half-time due to injury.

And that's when the show of the other Mohamed really began. Kudus, who had already provided plenty of pace and creativity at the start of the first half, scored a dream goal from just under 20 meters to secure the lead.

Kudus slowed down a bit in the second half but then gave his side the lead again with a wonderful individual effort shortly after Egypt's equaliser.

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It's a well-known fact that the two Black Stars forwards, Iñaki Williams and Osman Bukari, were responsible for both of the Pharaohs' goals. What was even more noticeable yesterday was how little Iñaki was involved in the game; he was often completely absent and didn't manage a single shot on goal in 73 minutes of play.

His replacement didn't pose much more of a goal threat either. Time to bring in Ernest Nuamah? It was noticeable with both players and the entire offense: when they received the ball, they often seemed unsure of how to proceed, leading us to the next point.

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Chris Hughton may be known as a defensive-minded coach. In the game against Egypt, he showed that he can adjust his defense to cope with a fast, creative attack featuring stars like Salah and Marmoush.

However, attacking creativity clearly suffers as a result. Often, especially in the second half, the ball was simply launched forward. The player who received the ball – if they did – often seemed unsure of what to do with it.

It was also noticeable that the full-backs, who are often used as an offensive weapon in many modern systems of play, did not contribute to the attacking play at all.

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