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VAR denies Guinea Bissau valuable AFCON point in Egypt’s win

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Egypt are back in their quest to make it to the knock-out stage, but it was almost not happening.

A goal by Guinea Bissau’s Mama Balde  could have been a turning point and offering a cushion to the West Africans, but it was overturned by a VAR review.

Before then, both Egypt and Guinea Bissau had been battling to a goalless draw before the maverick Mohamed Salah broke the deadlock in the 69th minute when he sneaked behind his marker and connected an overhead pass from Amr El-Sulaya to side-kick the ball into the net.

But what will be a talking point at the tournament will be the 82nd minute strike by Guinea Bissau. Mama Balde received the ball at the left flank and got entangled with Egyptian defender, Omar Kamal, cutting down and outwitting another defender before curling the ball beyond the reach of the Egyptian goalkeeper, El-Shennawi.

The referee initially allowed the goal before a swarm of Egyptians protested and contacted the VAR and thus overturned his initial decision.

Had the goal stood, it would not have buoyed the chances of the lesser ranked Guinea Bissau, it could have emerged the goal of the tournament.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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