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Ghana book World Cup spot despite Cairo defeat

(Reuters) - Ghana secured a third successive World Cup finals appearance despite a 2-1 defeat by Egypt in the second leg of their playoff in Cairo on Tuesday.

The Ghanaians triumphed 7-3 on aggregate, having done the hard work in the first leg in Kumasi last month, and will now get the opportunity to improve on their quarter-final finish at the 2010 edition in South Africa.

Egypt, playing in strife-torn Cairo for the first time in two years, restored some pride with victory on the night thanks to goals by former Wigan Athletic forward Amr Zaki and Hull City striker Gedo.

Kevin-Prince Boateng grabbed a late goal for Ghana.

For Egypt it is another heart-breaking qualification near-miss, having not appeared at the World Cup since Italia 90 despite winning an unmatched four African Nations Cup titles in the same period.

The home team went in front after 25 minutes when a free kick from Mohamed Aboutrika out on the right was not collected by goalkeeper Fatau Dauda and Zaki appeared to use his elbow to bundle the ball home.

Ghana showed little ambition to go forward in search of an equalizer while Egypt found it tough to break down their stubborn defense.

The hosts went close when a shot from Gedo was cleared off the line by Jerry Akaminko, with Dauda again failing to deal with an aerial ball.

The game opened up in the final 10 minutes and Gedo was on target in the 86th minute when he collected a pass from Mohamed Salah and blasted low past Dauda.

Ghana then exploited some gaps at the back with Asamoah Gyan finding space on the right and his low cross being turned in by Boateng.

The World Cup in Brazil starts in June.

(Reporting by Nick Said in Cape Town, editing by Tony Jimenez)

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