We look ahead to the opening match of Group B at the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations on Sunday with our Egypt vs Mozambique prediction and preview.
Egypt vs Mozambique: Pre-Match Facts
- The Opta supercomputer predicts an Egypt win in their first game of the 2023 AFCON, with the Pharaohs winning 62.4% of pre-match simulations.
- Mozambique have been drawn in the same group as Egypt for the fourth time in five appearances at the AFCON. Including this game in Abidjan, 31% of Mozambique’s matches at the tournament have taken place against Egypt.
- This is Egypt’s 26th appearance at the AFCON, a record in the history of the tournament. They have won it seven times – more than any other side – and have also reached the final in five of their last six participations.
- Egypt have lost only one of their last 19 AFCON group matches (W14 D4); a 1-0 defeat against Nigeria in the 2021 edition, which also happens to be the only goal the Pharaohs have conceded in their last 11 group games.
- The last time Egypt lost an AFCON group game by more than one goal was over 30 years ago, in the 1990 edition against hosts Algeria (2-0).
- Egypt have won eight of their 10 matches in 2023 in all competitions (D1 L1), their only defeat coming against Tunisia in a friendly last September (3-1).
- This is Mozambique’s fifth AFCON appearance and their first since 2010. They have finished bottom of their group in each of their four previous participations.
- Mozambique have won none of their 12 previous matches at the AFCON (D2 L10). Only Benin (14) have played more often at the tournament without ever registering a single win.
- Coming into this year’s competition, Mozambique have failed to score in 75% of their AFCON matches (nine out of 12), the highest ratio among any team to have played at least 10 matches at the tournament.
- Among the 24 teams that will feature in Ivory Coast, none posted a lower goal difference during the qualifying campaign than Mozambique (-1).
- Since his debut in the competition in 2017, Mohamed Salah has been directly involved in 64% of Egypt’s AFCON goals (six goals and three assists, out of a team total of 14 goals).
Egypt get their CAF Africa Cup of Nations campaign under way on Sunday, hoping to go one better than their agonising runners-up finish two years ago.
The Pharaohs were beaten in the final by Senegal on penalties in Cameroon, but Mohamed Salah and co. will want to make up for that and add to their nation’s record seven tournament wins, starting their quest with a Group B opener against Mozambique at Felix Houphouet-Boigny Stadium in Abidjan.
Egypt qualified for AFCON 2023 by winning Group D ahead of Guinea, Malawi and Ethiopia. They finished with 15 points from six matches, only dropping points in a surprise loss to bottom place Ethiopia in June 2022 thanks to goals from Dawa Hotessa and Shimelis Bekele, before getting revenge in the reverse fixture in September last year.
Captain Salah will be entering the tournament in particularly good form, having scored 14 goals in the Premier League this season for Liverpool, and 18 in all competitions, as well as recording eight assists. He also recently scored his 200th goal for the Reds, which allowed us to write about his incredible numbers since heading back to English football.
Salah should not have the entire scoring burden on his shoulders for Egypt, though. Omar Marmoush is having a fine campaign in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt, and though he might not be a guaranteed starter for his country, he has 15 goal involvements (12 goals, three assists) in all competitions at club level this season. That is already the same total as he managed for the previous two seasons combined.
Mostafa Mohamed has also been impressing in Ligue 1 this season, scoring 14 goals in 2,977 minutes of French top-flight action. Only three forwards in the division have won more aerial duels since the start of 2022-23 than Mohamed (109), who also ranks third for headed goals (5) and fifth for headed shots (25).
Egypt are the tournament’s most proficient team. This is their 26th appearance and, as mentioned, no country has won AFCON as often as their seven times, while they have been regular participants in the final in recent times, featuring in five of the last six.
Rui Vitória’s side come into the tournament in good form too, having won eight of their 10 games in 2023. They also picked up a win in their solitary warm-up game against Tanzania last Sunday, with former Aston Villa winger Trézéguet opening the scoring before an own goal from goalkeeper Aishi Manula sealed it.
Mozambique will be appearing at their fifth AFCON, though it is their first since 2010 when they again faced Egypt in the group stage, losing 2-0. They have finished bottom of their group in every previous tournament they have participated in.
In fact, Mozambique are yet to register an AFCON win, which will undoubtedly be the target heading into this tournament. Chiquinho Conde’s team qualified for the finals ahead of Benin and Rwanda, which was seen as a huge achievement in itself back home, so it would be an incredible celebration in the country if they can find a victory in Ivory Coast.
As mentioned in our AFCON Group B preview, 40-year-old Domingues is back for Mozambique, having played every game at the 2010 tournament. He is the country’s most-capped player with 106 appearances and the top scorer (16) among players who are still active.
Mozambique played two games prior to the tournament, beating Lesotho 2-0 before a 1-1 draw against Botswana.
One of their big hopes will be wideman Geny Catamo, who we selected as one of our players to watch ahead of the 2023 AFCON.
Egypt vs Mozambique Head-to-Head
This will be the fourth encounter between Egypt and Mozambique at the Africa Cup of Nations. The previous three meetings all produced a 2-0 group stage victory for Egypt in 1986, 1998 and 2010.
That last clash was decided by an own goal from Dario Khan and a late second from substitute Mohamed Gedo, who also went on to score the winner in the final against Ghana as Egypt lifted the trophy that year.
Egypt vs Mozambique Prediction
Ahead of kick-off, Egypt are heavily fancied to begin their 2023 AFCON campaign with a win by the Opta supercomputer. They won 62.4% of pre-match simulations, with just 18.3% won by Mozambique. Only 19.3% ended in a draw.
In the week leading up to AFCON 2023, our pre-tournament predictions handed Egypt an 8.5% chance of winning the competition behind Senegal, Ivory Coast, Morocco and Algeria. Mozambique were big outsiders, with just a 0.6% chance of going all the way, with only Angola and Namibia having a lower likelihood.
Below are their current, up-to-date chances of progression through AFCON 2023 according to the Opta supercomputer:
Egypt vs Mozambique Squads
Egypt: Mohamed Abou Gabal, Mohamed Sobhi, Mohamed El Shenawy, Ahmed El Shenawy, Ahmed Samy, Ali Gabr, Mohamed Hany, Mohamed Hamdy, Yasser Ibrahim, Mohamed Abdelmonem, Omar Kamal, Ahmed Abou El Fotouh, Ahmed Hegazy, Trézéguet, Mohamed Elneny, Marwan Attia, Mahmoud Hamada, Hamdi Fathy, Emam Ashour, Mohanad Lasheen, Zizo, Mohamed Salah, Koka, Mostafa Fathi, Kahraba, Mostafa Mohamed, Omar Marmoush.
Coach: Rui Vitória
Ivan Urrubal, Ernan, Fazito, Reinildo, David Malembana, Domingos Macandza, Bruno Langa, Mexer, Nanani, Edmilson Dove, Amadou, Clésio, Guima, Alfons Amade, Dominguês, Shaquille, João Bonde, Nené, Gildo Lourenço, Stanley Ratifo, Geny Catamo, Witi, Lau King.
Coach: Chiquinho Conde