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Jamaica 2-2 Egypt
Brian Jeeves Reporting from the Matchroom Stadium, Leyton
This week, six years ago, Yellow Sport headed to E10 to cover international football for the very first time. Jamaica and Egypt faced each other at Leyton Orient’s Brisbane Road ground. We have of course gone on to cover several huge matches featuring England in UEFA Euro qualifiers and other huge Wembley fixtures…
Leyton Orient’s Matchroom Stadium provided the setting as Jamaica and Egypt went head-to-head on a damp night in E10. Despite neither featuring at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, this was an eagerly anticipated meeting as the respective team stepped up preparations for the Caribbean and African Cup of Nations later in the year.
Both countries went into the game off the back of narrow defeats. Jamaica went down 1-0 to Switzerland in Lucerne while Egypt lost by the odd goal in five against Chile in Santiago.
A small but enthusiastic crowd of 2,203 greeted the teams, and there was an evident contrast in styles from the first whistle. Egypt played a somewhat more patient game while Jamaica was reliant on a combination of power and pace.
Indeed it was the Reggae Boyz who were first to threaten, however, Egypt keeper Ahmed El-Shenawi was untroubled by skipper Randolph Austin dead ball effort from distance. The Jamaican support was buoyed by their teams start but within minutes they found themselves behind. Mohamed El-Neny rose unchallenged to nod Khaled Kamar’s flag-kick beyond Jacomeno Barrett much to the delight of the Egyptian support who had congregated in the West Stand.
Jamaica looked for an immediate response, Michael Seaton’s shot was charged down following Romario Campbell’s corner while at the other end Hussin El-Sayed was wayward after finding space amidst the Jamaican rearguard.
The Reggae Boyz were starting to find their feet, El-Shenawi was forced to fist clear as Austin lurked, then Simon Dawkins was high and wide with a speculative attempt.
But just after the half-hour mark Jamaica drew level. Christopher Humphrey delivered from the right and Derby County man Dawkins was on hand to send the excitable Jamaican backing into a frenzy with a neat finish from close range.
Jamaica was now enjoying slightly the better of proceedings. Campbell fired wide after a probing run, nevertheless, Egypt still possessed a threat. El-Sayed was inches away from reaching Ahmed El-Mohammadi’s delicious centre, then Chelsea man Mohamed Salah fired over after Hossam Ghaly had broken from deep. But it was the Reggae Boyz who had the final say of the opening period. Joel Grant produced some wizardry before dispatching a crisp left-footed effort past El-Shenawi and low into the corner of the net, sending the Jamaican fans into raptures in the process.
Jamaica started the second period on the front foot with Austin sending a snapshot just wide while a Kemar Lawrence’ effort was blocked, but that aside the second half was a tidal wave of Egyptian attacking.
Barrett clawed away El-Sayed’s cross as El-Neny lurked, then Ahmed Hammoudi should have done better, shooting wide after a melee in the Jamaican penalty area. Soon after Barrett was once again called into action, firstly blocking from El-Sayed and then bravely denying an opportunity at the feet of Ahmed Sheweda. But the relentless pressure told. Basem Moursi used his head to direct Salah’s pinpoint centre past Barrett and just inside an upright to restore parity.
The Pharaohs pushed on. Salah’s thundering strike from distance whistled just over, as did a free-kick from Hull City’s El-Mohammadi. In between, Jamaican brought on emerging Norwich City youngster Jamar Loza. Loza spent time on loan at both Leyton Orient and Southend United, but his first meaningful contribution saw him pick up a booking following an un-gamely challenge on Egypt captain Ghaly.
Despite the Egyptian pressure, Jamaica held out resolutely for a share of the spoils. This had been a thoroughly entertaining encounter with both teams showing flair and aptitude that would suggest a successful future.
Deputy Chairman of the Leyton Orient Supporters’ Club, Steve Jenkins, told Yellow Sport: “It’s really good that an international has once again been played at the Matchroom Stadium, particularly after the great season the O’s have had.
“Games like this help to develop local interest in the Club, with many who have not previously attended a game at the Orient, maybe taking the chance to come along and see for themselves the good facilities and excellent playing surface we have.
“We are already looking forward to the new season and it would be good if a number of those that came this evening will also be here when the O’s new campaign gets underway in August.”
Jamaica: Jacomeno Barrett, Adrian Mariappa, Wes Morgan, (Lloyd Doyley, 80), Hughan Gray, Kemar Lawrence, Rodolph Austin (Capt), Joel Grant, Simon Dawkins (Jamar Loza 84′), Christopher Humphrey, Michael Seaton (Dino Williams 77′), Romario Campbell (Nicholas Beckett 62′) Subs not used: Ryan Thompson, John-Ross Edwards, Nicholy Finlayson, Upston Edwards
Goals: Dawkins (27′) Grant (37′)
Booked: Loza (foul)
Egypt: Ahmed El-Shenawi, Aly Ghazal, Ahmed Saeid “Oka”, Ahmed El-Mohammadi, Hussin El-Sayed, Mohamed El-Neny, Hossam Ghaly (Capt), Hosny Abd Rabo (Ahmed Sherweda 64′), Mohamed Salah, Ahmed Hamoudi (Saleh Gomaa 72′), Khaled Kamar (Basem Moursi 46′) Subs not used: Essam El-Hadary, Mohamed El-Shenawi, Mohamed Awad, Shawqi El-Saeid, Ali Gabr, Ahmed Dwedar, Mahmoud Ezzat, Ibrahim Abd Elkhalek, Tarek Hamed, Ahmed Hassan “Koka”, Salah Amin
Goals: El-Neny (4′), Moursi (72′)
Referee: Anthony Taylor