Ghana made it to its third successive FIFA World Cup after seeing off Egypt 7-3 on aggregate, despite the hosts putting up a more spirited display than the opening leg, winning 2-1 on the night.
Amr Zaki and Gedo secured the victory on home soil, where their first-half display gave occasional hints that something special could be in store, but Kevin-Prince Boateng’s late strike sent Ghana to Brazil on the back of a comfortable triumph over two legs.
After the devastating 6-1 defeat in Kumasi, restoring pride was always going to be the most achievable goal for the Pharaohs.
But in front of a Cairo crowd that had not seen their national team play in two years, and with an away goal to their name, there is no doubt an optimistic few inside the 30 June Stadium still held on to the slim hope that a miracle could come to pass.
Egypt came out of the blocks the only way they could to have any chance of achieving the impossible: quickly and with purpose. Ghana were thrown onto the back foot almost immediately and the recalled Zaki had tested Fatawu Dauda from 30 yards inside the opening minute.
Zaki remained the principal threat to Ghana’s imposing lead, again forcing Douda into a save with an effort from a distance, before a neat one-two between Mohamed Salah and Hazem Emam saw the latter test the Ghanaian keeper again.
It was a more secure Black Stars side that emerged from the break, with more intention of imposing their own game on the hosts.
As a result, the near-unopposed pressure from Egypt that had characterised the opening period subsided, with the previously fervent crowd losing much of their initial impetus too.
Gedo did double Egypt’s score on the night, firing under Douda from inside the area, but with three still needed in the final six minutes, few were in doubt it was just a consolation goal.
When Boateng converted Asamoah Gyan’s cross, it provided a moment for the small cluster of travelling Ghana fans to cheer ahead of the delight of the final whistle.