SOWETO, South Africa: Egypt clinched second place in Group A of the African youth championship Saturday thanks to a gift-wrapped 1-0 victory over South Africa.
A careless short clearance by goalkeeper Rowen Williams deep in first half stoppage time flew back into the net off the right knee of Egypt striker Mohamed Hamdy.
Hosts South Africa have been plagued by goalkeeping howlers during the biennial tournament with second choice Williams promoted after Tawfeeq Salie conceded four goals against Mali.
South Africa came closest to leveling at chilly Dobsonville Stadium just before the hour mark when a close-range shot from captain Philani Khwela came back off a post.
Egypt were content to soak up pressure for much of the second half, confident that a defense marshaled by giant centre-back Ahmed Hegazy and captain and goalkeeper Ahmed Al-Shenawy would not be pierced.
Victory was doubly pleasing for the Baby Pharaohs as they not only qualified to play the Group B winners in the semi-finals next Thursday but also secured a place at the world championships in Colombia during July and August.
Mali topped the Group A standings with seven points although held 1-1 by Lesotho in Johannesburg, Egypt garnered six points, South Africa three and Lesotho one.
Drissa Ballo gave the Malian Eaglets a 17th-minute lead and Christopher Mosiuda equalized eight minutes from full-time.
The mini-league phase concludes Sunday with Cameroon defending a perfect Group B record when they face reigning World and African champions Ghana in Soweto while Nigeria and Gambia clash in Johannesburg.