Egypt came from two goals down to hold Nigeria to a 2-2 draw in their Group B Day two clash on Wednesday at the Caroline Faye Stadium, M’Bour.
Midfielder Etebo Peter Oghenekaro converted two penalties to give Nigeria a 2-0 lead at half time, but the Pharaohs responded strongly in the second half and neutralized the scores courtesy Ramadan Sobhi Ahmed and substitute Mamdouh El Sayed.
The result leaves Nigeria, Algeria and Egypt in contention for the group’s two tickets for the next round. Algeria and Nigeria share top spot with four points apiece, Egypt has two points and Mali in that order with no point.
Nigeria were yet again haunted by their dismal second half performance, surrendering a two-goal lead and lucky to escape with a point against a determined Egyptian side, who kept the West Africans on their back for a greater part of the second period.
Two handball incidents before the hour-mark gave the Dream Team a seemingly comfortable lead. Pharaohs captain Rami Rabia handled in the 19th minute and Etebo scored the opener from the spot.
Few minutes later, Mohamed Hany Gamal also handled in the vital area and Etebo was on hand to double the lead on 30 minutes.
The Pharaohs were undaunted by the two-goal deficit, returning with a strong presence in the second half, yielding dividends barely 60-seconds upon recess. Ahly youngster Sobhi Ahmed headed home from a Mohamed Sharf Edin cross from the left to make it 2-1.
Five minutes later, El Sayed leveled with a cool finish from an acute position and set the game alive.
The Egyptians maintained control of the game with consistent raids into the Nigerians half.
On 55 minutes, Nigeria coach Samson Siasia pulled out an ineffective Taiwo Awoniyi for Eyo Ebong, and the substitution barely affected the rhythm of the game.
Zamalek winger Mostafa Fathi almost announced his presence with a goal on 71 minutes with a shot that flew across the face of goal.
A rare Nigerian attack on 75 minutes saw Muhammed Usman struck a shot that rattled the post to the relief of the Egyptians.
Egypt will play Mali in M’Bour on Saturday whilst Nigeria and Algeria lock horns in the other Group B match in Dakar.