Analysis of Mohamed Salah as Liverpool star suffers more heartache with Egypt

Chris Bailey 25/06/2018
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After his injury, Egypt’s woeful World Cup campaign and now being cast as the unwilling centrepiece of a political storm, it would have come as pure relief for Mohamed Salah to step back onto the pitch.

A dead rubber the match may have been but pride was at stake for these two Arab rivals – and Salah scored Egypt’s goal only for his side to go down 2-1 to Saudi Arabia at the death.

BASIC STATS

Goals – 1

Touches – 36

Dribbles – 2

Passes – 16

Key passes – 2

Dispossessed – 5

30-SECOND REPORT

Try as they might the cameras could not find Salah early on as he was cut adrift on the right and failing to affect play.

He eventually wreaked havoc though with a couple of hopeful balls over the top that may not have troubled a better defence. The first he beautifully lobbed over the goalkeeper, the second a chip that went well wide.

The 26-year-old also set up a glorious chance for Trezeguet with a flick on the half volley that was subsequently missed.

GOT RIGHT

Exploiting weakness –  Salah touched the ball 36 times and made just 16 passes as he tried to conjure up some magic by himself. He was generally effective when he found himself in space, bisecting Saudi’s sluggish centre-backs for his strike and making two key passes, including that chance to Trezeguet.

GOT WRONG

Inconsistency – While hardly his fault that his compatriots do not resemble his Liverpool team-mates, Salah was almost apathetic chasing down Saudi defenders on occasion – and even lost a straight foot-race to Saudi centre-back Motaz Hawsawi. He was also robbed of the ball five times.

At other times, particularly when he drifted centrally, flickers of the Salah we all love and know became apparent.

VERDICT

7/10 – It’s not appropriate to critique Salah too harshly – based on the turmoil in the build-up to the game and the quality of those around him. He came up with the goods for the goal and was at the heart of most chances, as rare as they were, that came Egypt’s way. Whether he has a bright future in his national jersey relies not just on him but the protection he gets as football’s newest superstar.

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Saudi Arabia player ratings as Salem Al Dawsari gets an 8 after scoring last-gasp winner v Egypt

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Egypt’s World Cup campaign ended in disappointment as a late strike by Salem Al Dawsari condemned them to a 2-1 defeat on Monday.

Mohamed Salah opened the scoring at Volgograd Arena in the 22nd minute.

Saudi equalised from the spot through Salman Al Faraj on the stroke of half-time after Essam El Hadary had saved an earlier penalty from Fahad Al Muwallad.

Al Dawsari then scored a dramatic winner deep into stoppage time to ensure his side leaves Russia with three points to show for their efforts.

Here, we rate the performances of the Saudi players.

STARTING XI

Yasser Al Mosailem – Had a surprisingly quiet outing with Egypt’s shooting proving to be wayward. Not much he could do for the goal and didn’t have a single save to make otherwise. 6

Mohammed Al Burayk – Largely kept Trezeguet quiet, making more tackles than any of his team-mates. A solid defensive display. 6

Osama Hawsawi – A subdued performance. Dealt with Marwan Mohsen easily. 5

Motaz Hawsawi – Showed a good turn of pace to keep pace with Salah on one occasion but then lost him for the goal. 5

Yasser Al Shahrani – Known for his attacking instincts, he showed plenty of enterprise down that left flank and got forward to deliver a few crosses. 6

Abdullah Otayf – Anchored the midfield well, making more passes (115) than anyone else and produced the assist for the dramatic last-gasp winner. 7

Salman Al Faraj – Had a good shot from the edge of the box blocked by Ahmed Hegazy. Produced good delivery into the box to give El Hadary a couple of headers to deal with. Sprayed the ball around well with six key passes and 11 of his 13 long balls finding a team-mate. 8

Hattan Bahebri – Blazed a volley over the bar from inside the area in the second half. Had four attempts in total. Didn’t offer any width. 4

Hussain Al Mogahwi – Produced a good save from El Hadary with a fine header. Had an acrobatic effort late on as well. Was good in possession. 6

Salem Al Dawsari – Showed plenty of pace down the left side. Went on a good run in the first half, beating players through the middle before firing over the bar. Terrorised defenders with his dribbling and scored the all-important winner at the death. 8

Fahad Al Muwallad – Always threatened in behind. Had an early pop at goal that flew wide. Had his penalty saved before winning the second – rather softly – from which Saudi equalised. 5

SUBS

Muhannad Assiri – Came on for Bahbri in the 65th minute and forced a good save from El Hadary when he was allowed a free header from a corner. Otherwise anonymous. 5

Yahya Al Shehri – Replaced Muwallad in the 79th minute and struggled to get involved. N/A

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Best images as Salem Al-Dawsari's late goal helps Saudi Arabia to 2-1 win over Egypt

Sport360 staff 25/06/2018

Salem Al Dawsari struck an injury-time winner as Saudi Arabia recorded their first World Cup win since 1994 by beating Mohamed Salah’s Egypt 2-1.

Reports of Salah quitting international football dominated the build-up to this dead rubber in Group A but he briefly set the speculation to one side by opening the scoring with his second goal of the competition.

The Pharaohs ended a miserable tournament pointless, though, after a controversial penalty from Salman Al Faraj and Al Dawsari’s dramatic late strike turned the game around.

The two teams came into their final group game having already been eliminated from the competition following defeats to Uruguay and hosts Russia.

Here, we take a look at some of the best images from the game!

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