Salah scores di­rect from corner, strains mus­cle in Egypt romp

Ivory Coast crush Cen­tral African Repub­lic 4-0, Mali held by sec­ond-place Bu­rundi

Kuwait Times - - Sports -

JOHANNESBURG: Liver­pool star Mo­hamed Salah scored di­rect from a corner but was later in­jured as Egypt romped to a 4-1 Africa Cup of Na­tions qual­i­fy­ing win over eSwa­tini on Fri­day.

The striker went down hold­ing his leg as the Group J match drew to a close in Cairo, re­sumed af­ter re­ceiv­ing treat­ment, and was al­most im­me­di­ately with­drawn. Speak­ing af­ter the match, Egypt as­sis­tant coach Hany Ramzy told BeIN Sports: “The ini­tial di­ag­no­sis, ac­cord­ing to the team doc­tor, is a strong mus­cle strain. It is not a tear, I think it is not se­ri­ous.”

A spokesman for the team’s med­i­cal depart­ment told the web­site: “He (Salah) had a light strain, we will do a scan as soon as pos­si­ble.

“I doubt he can play next Tues­day. We will be sure af­ter the scan,” he added, re­fer­ring to the re­turn match against eSwa­tini in Manzini. Af­ter scor­ing 44 goals in all com­pe­ti­tions dur­ing his first sea­son at An­field, the striker has net­ted only three this term, with just one since Au­gust.

Salah net­ted twice and missed two penal­ties when record seven-time African cham­pi­ons Egypt ham­mered Niger 6-0 last month in an­other qual­i­fier.

With eSwa­tini (for­merly Swazi­land) ranked even lower than Niger, there were ex­pec­ta­tions that Salah could get back on the goal trail at the Al Salam Sta­dium. He blasted a shot wide with Egypt three goals ahead be­fore curl­ing a corner into the net on the stroke of half-time.

Salah fluffed a chance to net again by miss­ing from in­side the box dur­ing the sec­ond half af­ter com­bin­ing with Arse­nal mid­fielder Mo­hamed El­neny.

Cap­tain Ahmed El­mo­hamady, Amr Warda and Mah­moud Has­san also scored for Egypt and Si­bonginkosi Gamedze snatched a late eSwa­tini goal. Tu­nisia, who host Niger, and Egypt have six points each in a mini-league both seem cer­tain to qual­ify from for the 2019 Cup of Na­tions in Cameroon.

DA COSTA TURNED THE TIDE Jonathan Kod­jia, Manch­ester United de­fender Eric Bailly, Che­ick Douk­oure and Maxwel Cor­net scored for the Ivory Coast as they crushed the Cen­tral African Repub­lic 4-0 in Bouake.

In the other Group H match, Guinea de­feated Rwanda 2-0 in Con­akry through goals from Fran­cois Ka­mano and Ibrahima Cisse to stay three points ahead of the Ivo­rians.

An­gola ended the per­fect, two-vic­tory Group I record of Mau­ri­ta­nia by re­cov­er­ing from con­ced­ing a third-minute goal to tri­umph 4-1 in Luanda.

Cap­tain Ma­teus da Costa turned the tide with goals af­ter 12 and 16 min­utes, lev­el­ling from a penalty be­fore vol­ley­ing his team into the lead.

An­gola and Mau­ri­ta­nia have six points and Burk­ina Faso can join them if they win at home to bot­tom team Botswana yes­ter­day. An Eric Maxim ChoupoMot­ing goal earned Cameroon a laboured 1-0 Group B win over Malawi in Yaounde, and Dutch coach Clarence See­dorf his first suc­cess as ‘In­domitable Li­ons’ coach.

De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Cameroon are guar­an­teed a place among the 24 fi­nal­ists next year as hosts, but opted to par­tic­i­pate in the mini-league phase to gain com­pet­i­tive match prac­tice. They top the group with seven points, four more than Morocco, who should nar­row the gap by de­feat­ing the Co­moros in Casablanca Satur­day.

Group C pace­set­ters Mali were held 0-0 by sec­ond-place Bu­rundi in Ba­mako af­ter cap­tain Ab­doulaye Di­aby missed a penalty in the last minute of reg­u­lar time. Lead­ers Al­ge­ria moved three points clear of Benin in Group D thanks to a 2-0 win in Bl­ida with Ramy Bense­baini and Bagh­dad Bouned­jah scor­ing. New Gabon coach Daniel Cousin saw his team de­feat South Su­dan 3-0 in Li­bre­ville, Togo snatched a 1-1 draw with the Gam­bia in Lome and Cape Verde out­played Tan­za­nia 3-0 in Praia. — AFP

BOUAKE: Ivory Coast’s cap­tain Serge Aurier (R) vies with Cen­tral African Repub­lic’s Vivien Mabide (L) dur­ing the African Cup of Na­tions CAN 2019 qual­i­fi­ca­tion foot­ball match be­tween Ivory Coast and Cen­tral African Repub­lic, at the Stade de la paix in Bouake on Fri­day. — AFP

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