Mohamed Salah‘s hope for AFCON glory are over as Egypt have been knocked out of the tournament after losing to DR Congo on penalties on Sunday evening.
Salah was forced to watch the game on TV after returning to Liverpool last week after picking up a hamstring injury during Egypt’s 2-2 draw against Ghana.
Salah was hoping to recover in time for the AFCON final but his side were knocked out of the competition by DR Congo on Sunday evening.
Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal missed his penalty in the shootout as the Democratic Republic of Congo claimed an epic 8-7 victory.
Both sides were forced to settle the odds via the penalty shootout after a tense 1-1 draw in their Africa Cup of Nations last-16 clash in San Pedro on Sunday.Mohamed Salah ‘s hope for AFCON glory are over as Egypt have been knocked out of the tournament after losing to DR Congo on penalties on Sunday evening
Abou Gabal clipped the crossbar with his effort and then opposite number Lionel Mpasi scored against him as record seven-times winners Egypt bowed out.
As a result, DR Congo will now play Guinea in the quarter-finals of the competition in Abidjan on Friday afternoon.
Meschack Elia gave DR Congo the lead in the game when he headed in virtually on the goal-line, but the advantage lasted nine minutes before Mostafa Mohamed scored his fourth goal of the tournament from the penalty spot on the stroke of halftime.
Egypt midfielder Mohamed Hamdy received a red card in extra time, after which The Pharaohs, without injured talisman Salah, stopped attacking and held on as the game went to a shootout.
Salah will have been disappointed to see his side crash out of the tournament, especially as he was targeting a return to the competition.
Salah returned home to Liverpool after picking up the injury, stating he was going to work with the medical team at Anfield to ensure he made it back for the time.
However, Salah was forced to hit back at the critics who questioned his commitment to Egypt after he returned to England to receive treatment.
He took to X to say: ‘I started the treatment and rehabilitation program and I will do everything possible to be ready as soon as possible and return to the national team as was greed upon from the beginning. I also love Egypt and its people.’
Liverpool star Salah suffered a hamstring injury against Ghana at the AFCON last week
Egypt ‘s legendary former midfielder Ahmed Hassan claimed Salah should have stayed in Ivory Coast to support his teammates in his role as captain
Salah’s agent, Ramy Abbass Issa, also took to the social media platform to launch a blistering attack against those who questioned his client’s commitment to the Egypt national team.
‘The same individuals and “influencers” who get weak in the knees when they happen to bump into Mohamed in person and beg for “follows” or selfies, tried to capitalise on an unfortunate injury and questioned Mohamed’s commitment to his country,’ he posted on X.
‘They did this looking for fame, clicks and “likes”. I want to thank those who did the honourable thing and pointed out how ridiculous and cheap that was. I took names. In both cases.
‘Most importantly, to the vast majority of you, who support Mohamed, my message to you is not to worry, because your global icon, the one you helped create, is already too big to be brought down by social media. No hyperventilating or foaming-in-the-mouth “influencer” is going to change that.’
Speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Fulham, Jurgen Klopp insisted Liverpool and Egypt had mutually agreed Salah should receive treatment in England.
‘Egypt and Liverpool have exactly the same interests, we want Mo Salah fit as quickly as possible,’ Klopp said. ‘If he stays there and can’t do the proper treatment that will just delay everything, especially for Egypt if they go through the tournament.’
The Liverpool manager went on to add: ‘So, we bring him here not because we want to take him away from Egypt but because we want to offer the best medical treatment, that’s all we want.’
Jurgen Klopp was criticised by Egypt fans for breaking the news Salah was returning to England to receive treatment for his injury.