Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Senegal saves African from embarrassment at World Cup

Senegal saves African from embarrassment at World Cup

Mohamed Salah (right) of Egypt reacts while players of Russia celebrate the 1-0 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Russia and Egypt in St.Petersburg, Russia.

THREE weeks and three days after Sergio Ramos twisted and slammed Egypt's best World Cup hope into the grass, Mohamed Salah returned.

A poor punch by goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy saw Roman Zobnin try his luck from distance, with captain Ahmed Fathy inadvertently turning the ball into his own goal while attempting to clear.

Cheryshev came off the bench to score twice as Russian Federation thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the tournament's first game last week.

His five goals led Egypt in World Cup qualifying, but also tied him for the lead among all African players in CAF qualifying.

Egypt have to hope for the unlikely on Wednesday - a Saudi Arabia victory over Uruguay - if they are to have any chance of getting beyond Group A. Should Saudi Arabia fail to beat the South Americans, Russia will qualify for the last 16 and Egypt will be eliminated.

Salah missed the opening contest against Uruguay, which ended in a 1-0 defeat as he continued recovery from a shoulder injury, which he suffered in Liverpool's Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

Three minutes later, an unfocused, rattled Egyptian side conceded a third goal, as Dzyuba controlled the ball in the penalty box and went past Gabr to fire a near post shot and put the game to bed. "In a World Cup you have to wait till the very last minute", he added after the game.

Next up they faced 45th-ranked Egypt, who have now not won in eight games stretching back to October - and have never won a World Cup match.

Much of the conversation before the match focused on Salah, Liverpool's standout player, the victor of numerous end-of-season awards and a player who had scored a record-breaking amount of goals in his debut campaign for the English Premier League side. We are happy although we know that we have things to improve.

"We had a good first half then we had 10-15 really bad minutes and that's why we lost", said Cuper, who immediately faced questions over his future. Salah scored once, but wasn't able to take over the game against Russian Federation.

"I don't think it was a lack of concentration". They carried that energy into tonight's game and were dominant throughout.

"But I always say behind a player or two brilliant players, there has to be a team and I feel proud because I've had a team". They shouted every time Salah's face flashed up on the big screen and when his name was announced before kickoff.

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