Salah scores twice, misses two penalties in Egypt romp

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah scored twice and missed two penalties as Egypt made a dream debut under Mexican coach Javier Aguirre by crushing Niger 6-0 on Saturday night in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying.

Salah had clashed with Egyptian football officials ahead of the matchday 2 qualifier in Alexandria for the 2019 finals over image-rights violations and personal security.

But once on the pitch, the Egypt superstar was quickly in the thick of the action, winning a first-minute penalty which was blocked.

After Marwan Mohsen and Ayman Ashraf goals gave the 2018 World Cup flops a two-goal edge, Salah had another penalty saved, but scored from the rebound for a 3-0 half-time advantage.

The Liverpool sharpshooter, who scored 32 English Premier League goals last season in his first campaign at Anfield, created the fourth goal for rising star Salah Mohsen.

Egypt’s Mohamed Salah celebrates his goal with teammates. – AFP

Salah netted the fifth and Mohamed Elneny from Arsenal completed the rout with a goal two minutes into stoppage time.

It was a wonderful start for former Mexico and Japan manager Aguirre, who recently signed a four-year contract as boss of the record seven-time African champions.

He succeeded Argentine Hector Cuper, whose contract was not renewed after Egypt lost all three group matches, to Uruguay, hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, at the 2018 World Cup.

Despite the huge victory margin, Egypt trail Tunisia in Group J on the head-to-head rule having lost 1-0 away to the north Africans in the first round 15 months ago.