Mohamed Salah of Egypt celebrates after scoring winning penalty during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Play Offs - 1/8-finals match between Ivory Coast and Egypt at Japoma Stadium, Douala, January 26, 2022 in Douala, Cameroon. (Photo by SF)

Mo Salah scores as Egypt book AFCON quarter-final spot on penalties

Egypt’s Africa Cup of Nations last-16 clash with Ivory Coast went to penalties, with Mohamed Salah scoring the decisive spot-kick to reach the quarter-finals.

Liverpool’s No. 11 has extended his stay in Cameroon, therefore, with a quarter-final against Morocco to await on Sunday evening.

It was a frustrating 120 minutes for Salah, but he was there to convert his penalty to seal a 5-4 shootout win and progress to the next round.

He joins Senegal’s Sadio Mane in the quarter-finals, with Naby Keita and Guinea having lost out in the last 16.

Up against an Ivory Coast side comprised largely of players from Europe’s elite leagues, including AC Milan’s Franck Kessie and in-form Ajax striker Sebastien Haller, Egypt found the odds stacked against them.

Salah was, unsurprisingly, the main outlet, but the gulf in quality between the world’s best player and many of his team-mates often saw him disappointed with their delivery.

The 29-year-old drew a save from Badra Ali Sangare with a powerful shot right down the middle of the goal in the first half, the Ivory Coast goalkeeper able to tip it over.

A smart pass from Eric Bailly led to a rare chance for Haller after the break, but the forward was caught wrong-footed and Egypt were able to thwart the move.

Introducing Aston Villa‘s Trezeguet and Crystal Palace‘s Wilfried Zaha gave the game a much-needed spark, but on an awful pitch, the tempo remained slow and sluggish for the most part.

It went to extra time, then, and the urgency of the situation saw the quality improve slightly, though Trezeguet squandered the biggest chance from Salah’s cutback.

A penalty shootout followed, with Bailly’s awful attempt the decider as Salah netted the fifth of five perfect spot-kicks for Egypt.