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Egypt chase key opening win over Guinea in 2023 AFCON race

Egypt will chase a key opening 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualification Group D win over Guinea when the teams meet at the Cairo International Stadium on the evening of Thursday, 2 June.

Kick-off is at 9pm CAT.

Egypt come into the match fresh off the double disappointment of losing both the 2021 Afcon final and a 2022 World Cup playoff – both on penalties at the hands of Senegal – in recent months.

The Pharaohs, who have won a record seven Afcon titles, will be looking to secure qualification for a fourth successive continental finals.

The man tasked with leading them to the tournament in Ivory Coast in just over a year’s time is Ehab Galal, who replaced Portuguese Carlos Queiroz and has already made it clear that his approach will be one of building on the progress made under his predecessor, rather than a complete revolution.

“We are not here to ruin what the previous coaching staff did, we’ll try to keep the positive aspects and fix the negative ones,” said the former Pyramids FC boss. “There might be some changes to our play style but nothing major yet.”

Guinea, who have reached the round of 16 in the last two Afcon tournaments in 2021 and 2019, will be chasing a 14th qualification overall and a third in succession – something they have not achieved since appearing at the 2004, 2006 and 2008 finals.

Syli National coach Kaba Diawara will lean on star men Naby Keita and Amadou Diawara, as well as veteran defender Issiaga Sylla, while newcomers such as Mouctar Diakhaby, Sekou Sylla and Bafode Dansoko add some fresh blood in the quest to reach the next Afcon in Ivory Coast.

In head-to-head stats, Egypt and Guinea have met in eight matches dating back as far as 1970. The Pharaohs have claimed four wins compared to two for Syli National, while two games have been drawn.

The teams last met in an international friendly prior to the 2019 Afcon, with Egypt winning 3-1 in Alexandria thanks to goals from Marwan Mohsen, Ahmed Ali Kamel and Omar Gaber.

The other Group D Matchday 1 fixture sees Malawi host Ethiopia in Lilongwe earlier on the evening of Thursday, 2 June.

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