Mohamed Salah inspired unconvincing Egypt over Guinea-Bissau as he scored a goal that separated the two sides in an Africa Cup of Nations encounter at Roumde Adjia Stadium on Saturday.
The 1-0 win saw the Pharaohs collect their first three points in the ongoing tournament after losing the opener to Nigeria on January 11. Drama ensued late in the second half when Guinea-Bissau's Mama Balde scored a superb goal only for the referee to cancel it, ruling there was a foul committed.
Salah was unlucky in the first minute when his powerful low drive hit the post, even after beating two defenders in sight. Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes, too, could not reach out for the ball despite stretching himself to the maximum.
The Liverpool star showed a bit of creativity and speed associated with him when he attempted to make his way past a congested Guinea-Bissau penalty area, but he went down before he pulled the trigger in the eighth minute.
Unlucky Pharaohs were denied by the woodwork again in the 17th minute when Omar Marmoush superbly collected Salah's pass at the right side of the penalty area before laying the ball on for Mostafa Mohamed's way and whose final shot hit the same goal post Salah had hit earlier.
Marmoush tried his luck from distance, but his long-range shot from the right-wing just flew over the bar at the half-hour mark.
Guinea-Bissau's Jefferson Annilson became the second player - after his teammate, Piqueti Silva in the 25th minute - to be booked in the 31st minute when he prevented a clear goalscoring opportunity when he blocked Marmoush by bringing him down just at the edge of the box.
Abdallah Said - after a discussion with Salah - took the free-kick but could not beat the four-man wall erected by the opponents, and thus another chance for the record Afcon champions to get an opener went to waste.
Mohamed Elneny picked up a yellow card in the 49th minute when he completely missed the ball and caught Moreto Cassama as they went for the same ball.
Ayman Ashraf committed a free-kick in a very dangerous spot when he brought down Csaama in the 55th minute, but Fali Cande's delivery went over the top, wasting Guinea-Bissau's rare chance.
Egypt's changes saw Trezeguet come on for Said, while Zizo replaced Mohamed in the 58th minute. At the hour mark, Jorginho came on for Steve Brahim as the West Africans also made a change to their team.
Egypt had a breakthrough in the 69th-minute when Salah fired past Mendes, squeezing the ball through from a narrow-angle, showing outstanding technique.
For the third time, Egypt were denied by the post when unmarked Zizo attempted to fire home from close range in the 74th minute.
Guinea-Bissau found the back of the net in the 84th minute when Balde beat Omar Kamal, only for the referee to cancel it later after consulting with VAR.
The official, after a lengthy VAR consultation, ruled that Balde fouled Kamal before he struck past Mohamed El Shenawy and into the bottom corner of Egypt's goal post.