Thursday, August 18, 2022

AFCON 2021: Mohamed Salah’s Egypt Into Semi-finals After Defeating Morocco

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Mohamed Salah scored and provided the assist for the winning goal as Egypt battled back from behind to defeat Morocco in their AFCON quarter-final.

An early penalty from former Southampton forward Sofiane Boufal had given Morocco the lead in the North African derby at the Olembe Stadium in Yaounde.

In what was an evenly contested clash, Salah levelled the score for Egypt eight minutes after the break after he pounced on Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou only palming a save back into the danger zone.

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Carlos Quieroz’s Egypt grew increasingly stronger throughout the match but the sides could not be separated in normal time, prompting an extra 30 minutes.

Salah was again decisive for Egypt as they took the lead in the 100 th minute of the clash as he escaped down the right wing before playing a perfectly-timed delivery for Aston Villa forward Trezeguet to tap home.

It continued Salah’s leading role in the tournament, and it came just four days after the Liverpool star netted the decisive penalty in the shootout against Ivory Coast.

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The 29-year-old had bagged the only goal of the game in the group stage victory over Guinea-Bissau and he been instrumental in propelling Quieroz’s side into the final four.

Egypt are the most successful nation in the competition’s history with seven titles to their name but their last triumph came in 2010 – before Salah started playing for the country.

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Salah has played every single minute for Egypt at the tournament and he told reporters earlier this week that it would be a dream to help his nation to win the tournament.

The Reds star said: “Of course, I want to win something with the national team.

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“It’s my country, what I love the most. This trophy for me would be completely different, would be the closest one to my heart.

“We were close before to win this African Cup, we gave it everything but we were not lucky to win it but it’s okay.

“Now we are here in the new one, we have to fight for it, we have to give everything to win it, and I’m sure the players have the same feeling.”

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Despite being among the favourites for the competition at the outset, Egypt have had to recover from an opening day defeat against Nigeria to go on their run through to the semi-finals.

Salah’s goal was his 25 th for club and country this season across 31 appearances, while his assist for Trezeguet’s winner was his ninth of the campaign.

Egypt will now face Burkina Faso at the semi-final stage while hosts Cameroon will take on either Senegal or Equatorial Guinea in the other half of the draw.

Photo Credit: Getty

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