Ramzy hopes key duo will stay

Egypt coach Hany Ramzy is hoping he can retain captain Mohamed Aboutrika and striker Meteab Emad for the rest of the Olympic Games after his side qualified for the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Belarus.

Ramzy admitted there had been a previous agreement with the players' club side Al Ahly to let both players return to Egypt for its African Champions League tie with Ghanian side Berekum Chelsea at the weekend, but Ramzy will now discuss the possibility of at the very least Aboutrika staying for this weekend's quarter-final at Old Trafford.

He said, "I am hoping the Ahly club will understand we need the experience of these players.

"They may need Emad because I understand one of their strikers is injured and both are important but if we could keep even just one player it would be Aboutrika. He has a very good connection with the other players on and off the field and his experience of big competitions is very important for us."

Aboutrika rounded off a fine afternoon for Egypt with the third goal after second-half strikes from Mohamed Salah and Marwan Mohsen had put the game beyond Belarus' reach.

And Ramzy was happy with how his side adjusted after struggling to create openings in the first 45 minutes.

"We had studied them very well and they played the same way against Brazil as they did today with many players in midfield and defence," he said.

"At half-time we changed the system from a 4-3-2-1 to a 4-2-2-2 and that was a good solution for us as it allowed us to put more pressure on their defence."

Belarus coach Georgy Kondratyev meanwhile lamented that his players had made mistakes that simply don't go unpunished at Olympic level.

Kondratyev's men defended solidly for the first hour but were opened up with ease once they had to go on the front foot after conceding, and he believes the opening goal was the key to the game.

"The way Egypt plays we were afraid of the counter-attack and we managed to prevent them using it in the first half," he said.

"The first goal fully broke our game and then we made two mistakes that Egypt didn't pardon.

"We tried to the very end but in the last two games we have played two very strong teams that don't allow you to make any mistakes."

Source PA Sport