Penalty sinks All Whites in tournament opener against hosts Egypt

posted in: All Whites, National teams, News

Egypt have beaten the All Whites 1-0 with a penalty awarded only after a VAR review overturned the referee’s original decision.

Mostafa Mohamed’s goal from the spot was the deciding factor in a match in which both sides hit the framework of the goal and which, for the most part, was an even contest.

Main photo: Nando Pijnaker’s tackle that led to the penalty decision.

New Zealand started well and looked confident as they strung passes together.

The opening 25 minutes were fairly even, with neither side having a clear chance on goal.

Egypt score from the penalty spot, the only goal of the game.

The critical moment of the half came when Egypt’s Emam Ashour darted into the New Zealand penalty area and he was tackled by All Whites defender Nando Pijnaker.

Ashour went down, clutching his shoulder, his teammates claimed for a penalty and referee Clement Franklin waved away the appeals, indicating Pijnaker had connected with the ball before the player.

While Ashour was treated — and eventually substituted — the VAR team reviewed the incident and asked the referee to watch a replay.

That done, referee Clement pointed to the penalty spot.

Mostafa Mohamed stepped up and confidently belted his shot high into the net as ‘keeper Max Crocombe dived the wrong way.

Both sides had chances before half-time.

New Zealand captain Liberato Cacace chipped a lovely cross into the Egyptian box for Max Mata to head over the bar from 10 metres.

Trezeguet went close to scoring for Egypt.

As half-time approached, Egypt’s Trezeguet swivelled and shot just wide of the New Zealand post.

In the 52nd minute, New Zealand had a half-chance when a Clayton Lewis free kick floated into the Egyptian area and Michael Boxall got a head to the ball, earning a corner when it was deflected wide of the post.

Six minutes later, Cacace and Mata combined again to produce a chance for the striker whose shot was blocked by goalkeeper Mohamed Abo Gabal.

On the hour, Egypt had their first chance of the second half when Omar Marmoush broke clear but shot high and wide.
In the 68th minute, Sarpreet Singh was brought down outside the Egypt area.

Singh took the direct free kick himself, his curling shot skimming the top of the crossbar.

Egypt almost doubled their lead in the 79th minute when Marwan Attia smashed a shot goalwards which Crocombe tipped against the post.

Clayton Lewis (right) … busy in midfield for the New Zealanders.

As the half wore on, the New Zealanders pushed forward in search of a late equaliser that would have sent the game to penalties.

Instead, Egypt kept their nerve in front of the home crowd to initiate their new stadium — this was the first official fixture at the ground — with a win.

New Zealand will watch Sunday’s match between Tunisia and Croatia with interest, as they’ll meet the loser in Tuesday’s play-off for third place at the four-nation tournament.

Match stats

First half

Egypt/New Zealand

Shots: 5 / 1
Shots on target: 2 / 0
Possession: 53% / 47%
Passes: 236 / 204
Pass accuracy: 86% / 85%
Fouls: 10 / 5
Yellow cards: 0 / 0
Red cards: 0 / 0
Offsides: 3 / 1
Corners: 1 / 2

Full game

Egypt/New Zealand

Shots: 10 / 4
Shots on target: 3 / 1
Possession: 48% / 52%
Passes: 428 / 441
Pass accuracy: 82% / 81%
Fouls: 20 / 14
Yellow cards: 1 / 2
Red cards: 0 / 0
Offsides: 5 / 2
Corners: 2 / 4


Game played on Saturday March 23, 2024

Egypt 1 (Mostafa Mohamed 29′ pen)
New Zealand 0



Mohamed Abo Gabal, Mohamed Hamd, Mohamed Abdel-Moneim, Ramy Rabia, Mohamed Hany (Mohamed Shokry 90+3′), Marwan Atti, Emam Ashour (Hamdy Fathi 26′), Mohamed Magdy (Akram Tawfik 81′), Omar Marmoush (Mostafa Fathi 90+2′), Mostafa Mohamed (Mohamed El Shamy 81′), Mahmoud Trézéguet (Mohamed Sherif 81′).

Subs not used: Ahmed Ramadan, Ahmed Hegazi, Mostafa Shalaby, Ahmed Atef, Ahmed Nabil Koka, El Mahdy Soliman.


Yellow: Trézéguet (52′)

New Zealand’s starting line-up. Photo credit: NZ Football.


New Zealand

Max Crocombe, Michael Boxall, Liberato Cacace (captain), Dane Ingham (Tyler Bindon 82′), Nando Pijnaker, Clayton Lewis (Elijah Just 86′), Sarpreet Singh, Marko Stamenic, Matt Garbett (Kosta Barbarouses 82′), Callum McCowatt (Ben Old 69’), Max Mata (Ben Waine 69’)

Subs not used: Alex Paulsen (Gk), Oliver Sail, Lukas Kelly-Heald, Tommy Smith, Finn Surman, Alex Rufer.


Yellow: Boxall (49′), Stamenić (89′)


Referee: Clement Franklin (Ivory Coast)
Assistant referees: El Hadj Malick Samba (Senegal) and Nouhou Outtara (Ivory Coast)
Fourth official: Albert Diouf (Senegal)
VAR: Hamza El-Fareq (Moroco) and Fatiha Al-Jarmoumi (Morocco)


Game to be played on Sunday March 24, 2024 

Tunisia v Croatia
New Administrative Capital Stadium, Cairo, kick-off 9am (NZT)

Game to be played on Tuesday March 26, 2024 (NZT)

Play-off for third place
Air Defence Stadium, Cairo, kick-off 9am (NZT)

Game to be played on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 (NZT)

New Administrative Capital Stadium, Cairo, kick-off 9am (NZT)

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