Egypt are through to the semi-finals of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Having held their own in a nerve-shredding penalty shootout against the Ivory Coast in the round of 16, the Pharaohs lined up against Morocco at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo for a place in the final four.
And Mohamed Salah was once again hoovering up the column inches with another Man of the Match-winning performance on the back of scoring the deciding penalty in the previous round.
Salah shines vs Morocco
The Liverpool star is undoubtedly the best African footballer in the men’s game right now and Egypt’s chances of winning the entire tournament do nothing but increase when he’s on top form.
And while there were plenty of heroes to celebrate in Carlos Queiroz’s side on Sunday night, it was indeed the Premier League hero who got Egypt back into the game after they went 1-0 down.
A sixth-minute penalty from Sofiane Boufal had originally given the Moroccans the lead in the quarter-final clash, but Salah levelled the scores for Egypt during the second-half.
Egypt snatch the victory
Although it wasn’t the sort of mazy wonder goal that we’ve come to expect from the 29-year-old this season, Salah’s close-range finish from a corner was no less joyous for Egyptian supporters.
And with the scores locked at 1-1 going into the final throes of regulation time, Egypt had to strap themselves in for an additional 30 minutes just as they did during the Ivory Coast victory.
However, there was to be no penalties this time around as Salah once again played a key role for the 2017 finalists, providing a superb assist that Aston Villa’s Trézéguet duly converted.
Trezeguet shines Salah’s boot
Picking the ball up on the right wing, Salah showed exactly the sort of direct and ruthless dribbling that we’ve come to expect from him in the Premier League to set up a cross into the penalty area.
Such was the penetrative nature of Salah’s run and delivery that Trézéguet merely had to tap home into the empty net to ensure that Egypt completed their comeback before a potential shootout.
And Trézéguet was so impressed with the assist from his Ballon d’Or-nominated compatriot that he whipped out a classic FIFA celebration out of respect: polishing his boots. Check it out down below:
Just look at the respect for Salah. You love to see it.
Egypt progress to the semi-finals
Egypt have and always will be one of the strongest forces in African football, but even amongst their long and rich history of top-level players, Salah stands out as the greatest of them all.
Nevertheless, it was all hands on deck for the Pharaohs as they looked to protect the lead that Trezeguet’s goal had afforded them with Morocco looking to push the game to a penalty shootout.
But it simply wasn’t to be with Egypt holding firm even when Morocco piled their own goalkeeper into the box, ensuring that they are now just one game away from playing in the AFCON final.
We’ll just have to wait and see whether Salah’s boots will be polished all the way to the trophy itself.