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Separated by just two points in Group D of the Africa Cup of Nations, Egypt and Sudan go head to head at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium on Wednesday.

While a share of the spoils will take the Pharaohs through to the knockout stages, the Falcons of Jediane need to secure all three points after picking up one point from their first two games.

Egypt got their Africa Cup of Nations campaign up and running last Saturday when they claimed a hard-earned 1-0 win over a resilient Guinea-Bissau side.

In a cagey contest at the Roumde Adjia Stadium, the Djurtus put on a superb defensive performance to keep the game scoreless heading into the break before Liverpool star Mohamed Salah grabbed the winner in the 69th minute.

This followed a 1-0 loss to Nigeria in their group opener last Tuesday when Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho scored the only goal of the game on the half-hour mark.

Egypt, who are the most decorated nation on the continent with a record seven AFCON titles, are currently second in Group D, two points above Sudan and three behind Nigeria, who have already secured a spot in the knockout stages.

Carlos Queiroz’s men must now avoid a defeat on Wednesday to ensure their place in the round of 16, where they were sent packing three years ago when they fell to a 1-0 defeat against South Africa.

Egypt attacker Mohamed Salah pictured in November 2021© Reuters

Sudan, on the other hand, will head into the game seeking all three points to keep their qualification chances alive after failing to win their opening two games.

The Falcons of Jediane, who clinched a place in Cameroon after finishing runners-up to Ghana in Group C of the qualifiers, got their AFCON run off to a somewhat impressive start as they played out a goalless draw with Guinea-Bissau last Tuesday.

However, this was followed by a humbling 3-1 defeat at the hands of group leaders Nigeria, who have hit the ground running and booked their place in the knockout stages.

Samuel Chukwueze, Taiwo Awoniyi and Moses Simon were all on target to put the Super Eagles in a commanding three-goal lead inside the opening 46 minutes before Walieldin Khidir grabbed a consolation goal from the penalty spot with 20 minutes left to play.

Sudan have now failed to taste victory in 12 consecutive outings, picking up four draws and suffering eight defeats since a 1-0 win over Libya in the Arab Cup qualifiers back in June 2021.

Wednesday’s game will be the second meeting between the two sides in a little over a month, after Egypt cruised to an emphatic 5-0 win in Group D of the Arab Cup on December 4.

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