Egypt exit Olympic games after Matheus Cunha strike sends Brazil to semi-finals

Brazil’s hopes of retaining their Olympic crown are still on track as they confirmed their place in the men’s semi-final with a narrow win over Egypt.

The Selecao were far from electric in the first-half but took a one-goal lead in at the interval thanks to Matheus Cunha’s 37th-minute opener.

After having a penalty appeal turned down, Egypt were caught on the counter-attack and Brazil rubbed salt into the wound as Richarlison teed up Cunha whose low shot found the bottom corner.

Egypt had their moments in the opening 45 minutes, with Akram Tawfik going closest with an instinctive header that dropped just wide.

But Andre Jardine’s side took complete control of proceedings after the restart, creating a plethora of opportunities.

The best fell to Cunha but he was denied his second by goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenaway whose face stopped the ball from nestling in the net before the Hertha BSC forward limped off with a hamstring problem.

Ultimately it proved a quiet day in front of goal for the competition’s top goalscorer Richarlison, who was unable to add to his tally of five.

Having failed to find any breathing space in the tie, Brazil had to endure a nervy finish but while Egypt grew in confidence, they failed to find the legs to create a clear-cut opportunity, as the gold medallists of Rio 2016 sealed their place in the last-four.

The winner between Mexico and South Korea now await Brazil in Tuesday’s semi-final.

With the exception of a lightning first-half display against Germany, in which they scored three goals and could have had many more, we haven’t seen the best of Brazil so far in this tournament.

And yet they have hardly had to break sweat to make it to the last four.

They’ve done just enough to get past the likes of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, but they’ve almost certainly an extra gear or two to find when the time inevitably arrives to meet better quality opposition.

Having won almost everything there is to win in world football, Dani Alves has one thing missing in his trophy cabinet: a gold medal. The 38-year-old belied his years with an all-conquering performance; while providing his usual threat going forward, he was an ever-present in defence to combat Egypt’s attack.

Player ratings

Brazil: Santos 7, Dani Alves 8, Nino 7, Diego Carlos 7, Arana 6, Douglas Luiz 6, Guimaraes 6, Claudinho 6, Cunha 7, Antony 6, Richarlison 6.. subs: Reinier 5, Menino N/A, Paulinho 5, Malcom 5.

Egypt: El Shenawy 7, Galal 6, Hegazy 7, El Wensh 6, El Fotouh 6, Hamdi 6, Tawfik 7, El Eraki 7, Mohamed, 6 Sobhi 5, Rayan 5.. subs: Ashour 5, Maher 5, Mansy N/A, Mohsen 5.


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