Liverpool star Mohamed Salah witnessed a crazy end to Egypt’s final Africa Cup of Nations group game on Monday evening as his side progressed to the knockout stages despite conceding a 99th minute equaliser against Cape Verde. The blockbuster star was sidelined for the match after injuring his hamstring during his country’s draw with Ghana last Thursday but was in attendance to cheer on his team-mates.
Salah was brought off at the midway point of his country’s 2-2 draw with Ghana and is set to return to Liverpool to receive treatment. Egypt are hoping the winger will be fit to return to the squad later in the tournament, although his agent Ramy Abbas has admitted that the injury is “more serious than first thought”.
Before heading back to England, Salah watched on as Egypt took on group leaders Cape Verde, who had won their opening two matches of the tournament. Ahead of the clash, the Pharaohs were in second place in Group B after drawing 2-2 with Mozambique in their opening game, before their second stalemate. And, incredibly they made it three 2-2 draws in a row against Cape Verde.
The group leaders went ahead in stoppage time at the end of the first half as Gilson Tavares found the back of the net. Egypt drew level through Mahmoud Trezeguet five minutes after the interval and thought they had won the match in the 93rd minute as Mostafa Mohamed popped up with a goal.
After the ball hit the back of the net, Salah could be seen on the sidelines jumping up and down and cheering the goal. Salah’s No. 10 Egypt shirt was also held aloft by his team-mates on the pitch as a tribute to the injured player. But Cape Verde snatched a share of the spoils at the death as Bryan Teixeira struck.
Despite the last-gasp goal, Egypt have secured second place in their group as Ghana were held to a 2-2 draw by Mozambique. Salah’s team finish with three points from three games, while Ghana and Mozambique only have two points. But the Black Stars will still qualify for the round of 16 if they are one of the four best third-place finishers.
On Sunday night, the Egyptian FA released a statement that read: “After additional examinations were conducted on Mohamed Salah during the last hours, and after communication between the national team’s medical staff and his counterpart at Liverpool FC, it was decided that the player will return to England after the Cape Verde match tomorrow to complete his treatment, with the hope that he will join the national team in the semi-final of the AFCON if we qualify.”
But on Monday, Abbas explained: “The injury is more serious than first thought. He will be out for 21-28 days. His best chance at participating in the current AFCON is by undergoing intensive rehabilitation in the UK and rejoining the team as soon as he is fit.”