Salah Ruled Out Of Two AFCON Games As Senegal, Cape Verde Reach Last 16
Record seven-time champions Egypt were dealt a major blow on Friday as captain Mohamed Salah was ruled out of two Africa Cup of Nations games with a hamstringSenegal and Cape Verde qualified for the last 16.
The Egyptian Football Association confirmed in a statement that Liverpool star Salah would not be able to return for his country unless they reach the quarter-finalsthe tournament.
The 31-year-old came off late in the first half of the Pharaohs’ 2-2 draw with Ghana on Thursday.
He will therefore sit out Monday’s final group game against Cape Verde and any last-16 tie that follows that.
After drawing their opening two games, Egypt need to beat Cape Verde tosecond place in Group B.
That would tee up a last-16 tie inon January 28, while they could also qualify as one of the third-placed teams.
Salah will therefore only feature againthe competition if Egypt it to a quarter-final on February 2 or 3.
Senegal, who beat Salah’s Egypt on penalties in the final of the last AFCON, clinched a spot in the next round with one group game tothanks to a 3-1 win over Cameroon in Yamoussoukro.
Ismaila Sarr of Marseille put the reigning champions ahead early on and later set up Habib Diallo to make it 2-0.
Jean-Charles Castelletto pulled one back, but Senegala convincing victory and talisman Sadio Mane put the outcome beyond doubt late on.
Senegalsix points after two Group C matches, while Cameroon have only one and their hopes of advancing to the last 16 are in the balance.
“I remember that in 2017 we lost to Cameroon in the quarter-finals, so during this match we did everything to win,” said Marseille forward Sarr.
Later on in Group C Guinea, again missing star striker Serhou Guirassy, beat Gambia 1-0 at the same venue thanks to Aguibou Camara’s second-half goal.
The result leaves Guinea second in the section on fourthey need just a draw against Senegal in their next match to guarantee qualification for the last 16, while a victory will see them progress as group winners.
Cameroon and Gambia will meet each other next and can both hope toprogress as one of the four third-placed sides.
Earlier, Cape Verde became the first team to qualify for the last 16 thanks to a convincing 3-0 win over Mozambique in Abidjan.
Former Manchester United forward Bebe set the Atlantic Ocean island nation on their way with a remarkable first-half free-kick from 40 metresHouphouet Boigny Stadium.
Captain Ryan Mendes doubled their lead just after half-time and Kevin Pina wrapped up the win with a stunning strike midway through the second half.
Cape Verde’sever AFCON victory leaves them on six points from two means they are now certain to top Group B, after Ghana 2-1 in their opening game.
“I don’t know how far we can. Now we are into the last 16 and we just need to keep working as said Mendes.
“We know it won’t be easy but we believe in ourselves and in our work.”
Cape Verde already know they will stay in Abidjan for a last-16 tie against a third-placed team on January 29.
Mozambique, appearing at their fifth Cup of Nations, havea match in 14 attempts at the tournament.
Meanwhile, Tanzania fired coach Adel Amrouche after he was banned for eight matches and fined $10,000 over comments abouta Confederation of African Football (CAF) official told AFP.
His dismissal was confirmed by the Tanzanian FootballHemed Suleiman promoted from assistant coach to caretaker boss for the rest of their AFCON campaign.
The Group F outsiders lost 3-0 to Morocco on Wednesday and still have to play Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Before Amrouche was axed, a CAF official said “(the organisation)suspended the coach for eight matches after comments he made about Moroccan officials in a TV interview”.
Algeria-born Amrouche alleged Moroccan officials within CAF decide who referees matches involving the senior men’s national team, and at what time they kick off.