Thursday, August 11, 2022

AFCON 2021: Ivory Coast 0-0 Egypt (4-5 Penalties): Mo Salah Wins Shootout After Eric Bailly Missed

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Mohamed Salah scored the winning penalty as Egypt beat Ivory Coast 5-4 in the shootout to reach the Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.

A match with plenty of intensity and half-chances failed to produce a goal in 120 minutes, leaving it to be settled from the penalty spot.

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After two perfect penalties from each side, Eric Bailly stepped up. He opted for an incredibly short run-up before sending a tame effort at Gabaski, who tipped it onto the woodwork.

No other player missed, setting up the chance for Salah to be the hero, and he made no mistake. Egypt will face Morocco in the last eight.

Ivory Coast had much of the early possession, but it was Egypt who went closest to opening the scoring. Omar Marmoush picked the ball up 25 yards out and let fly with a curling effort, only to see it cannon off the bar having beaten the goalkeeper.

A few minutes later, Salah had his first chance of the match as he swivelled well and went for goal from the edge of the box, but his rising effort was tipped over.

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Ibrahim Sangare’s acrobatic attempt was comfortably saved as Ivory Coast started to put some pressure on, before Sebastien Haller’s shot just before the break was well-struck but too close to Mohammed El Shenawy in goal for Egypt.

Egypt came out quickly after the break, and Amr El Soleya should have done better as he blazed over the bar after Salah played him in. Badra Sangare then had to make a sharp save, as Simon Deli nearly turned a cross into his own net.

Sebastien Haller went close with 20 minutes remaining, after Sangare headed a deep corner back into the six-yard box, but Shenawy reacted well to turn it over the bar.

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Aston Villa’s Trezeguet was introduced, as was Wilfried Zaha for Ivory Coast, as both managers looked to find a late winner. Trezeguet should really have provided one a couple of minutes after coming on, as he sent a curling effort wide of the far post when clean through.

Nicolas Pepe sent a couple of long-range shots straight at the goalkeeper, with the match increasingly looking destined for extra-time. Zaha had a left-footed strike kept out with just a few minutes remaining, as Ivory Coast dominated the latter stages of the second-half, but 90 minutes were not enough to separate the sides.

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Trezeguet had a chance to break the deadlock early into extra-time, but dragged an effort wide, while Mohamed Sherif headed over from a few yards out as Egypt looked the more likely to break the deadlock. There was to be no breakthrough though in extra-time, as the match went all the way to penalties.

Bailly will no doubt regret the run-up he produced, and the weak effort that followed, and there was nothing Ivory Coast could do from that point as Egypt kept their nerve and Salah sealed the shootout win.

Photo Credit: Getty

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