Liverpool star Mohammed Salah has continued to impress for his national team as he inspired The Pharaohs of Egypt to a comeback win over North-African neighbours Morocco.
They Egyptians were pegged back early in the game by a Sofiane Boufal penalty but levelled matters through the former African player of the year before Mahmoud Trezeguet netted the winner in extra time to deliver Egypt a Semi-final ticket at the expense of their neighbors in a fist-filled encounter.
Morocco opened scoring inside the first six minutes of the game through Sofiane Boufal who fooled the Egypt goalie as he buried his effort from 12 yards after Ashraf had brought down Hakimi inside the box.
The first half ended with Morocco having the better chances although clear cuts fell to neither of the sides.
Liverpool forward Mohammed Salah restored parity for the Egyptians in the 53rd minute as he fired in a rebound from Morocco shotstopper Yasine Bonou after Abdel Monem had headed the ball to him.
62% – Mohamed Salah has been involved in 62% of Egypt’s goals at the Africa Cup of Nations since his competition debut in 2017 (8/13), the highest ratio by a player for any nation to score at least five goals at the tournament in this time.Quick stat
The Salah goal birthed life into the encounter as both sides rallied for a match-winner.
Soon fist-fight greeted the arena as the referee lost control of the match for a moment after a brawl where he ended up pushing Monem only to caution Mohamed and Hakimi. 78 minutes had raced away at the time.
Morocco thought they had gotten a winner nine minutes from stoppage time when a cross found Aguerd and his powerful header was on target but the Egypt goalie Gabaski flung himself to the left to tip the ball onto the crossbar before it was further cleared away by the defence.
However it came at a cost for the Egyptians as Gabaski injured himself making the save, he initally wanted to carry on after attention from the medics but later had to succumb to being replaced by third-choice goaltender Mohammed Sobhy who was making his international debut six minutes into the extra time.
Breakthrough finally came for Egypt after a century of minutes as goalscorer Mohammed Salah turned provider. A brilliant run and low cross from the Liverpool man found Trezeguet at the far post, with the sub having a tap-in from five yards.
Carlos Queiroz men led for the first time in the game and held on to it as they advanced into the last four.
They were beaten in the last-16 two years ago by South Africa and they were beaten in the final in 2017 by Cameroon.
But now Egypt will have their chance to continue their journey and aim for glory – and an element of revenge, too, as it’s this year’s hosts Cameroon who they play in the next round.