Mo Salah peppered with lasers as Egypt crash out of World Cup qualifiers vs Senegal

  • Kobe Tong

Senegal have qualified for the 2022 World Cup on penalties after a tense clash with Egypt.

The giants of African football slugged it out over two legs of a World Cup qualifier just weeks after they had contested one of the most nerve-shredding Africa Cup of Nations finals in history.

On that occasion, the match had to be decided via a penalty shootout with Liverpool‘s Sadio Mane converting the winning spot-kick, while his club teammate, Mohamed Salah, never got the chance to take one.

High drama in Senegal vs Egypt

So, you can just imagine how nervous the fans of each nation must have been when their latest clash was to be decided by penalties all over again with the scores locked at 1-1 on aggregate after both legs.

An own goal from Saliou Ciss had given Egypt the advantage on home soil in the first leg, but Hamdi Fathi putting through his own net ensured that the deciding match went as far as it could have done.

Nevertheless, clearly Egypt wanted to learn from the mistakes of the tournament in Cameroon as they moved their star man up the penalty order to ensure that he would get his chance in the sun.

Soccer Football – World Cup – African Qualifiers – Egypt v Senegal – Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt – March 25, 2022 Egypt’s Mohamed Salah in action with Senegal’s Nampalys Mendy REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Plus, it looked as though the Ballon d’Or contender would have the chance to give the Pharaohs a real advantage in the contest with Kalidou Koulibaly smashing his penalty against the crossbar.

Salah misses crucial penalty

Instead, Salah produced arguably the worst penalty that we’ve ever seen from him, shovelling his penalty over the crossbar having shockingly been peppered with lasers while he lined the ball up.

The 29-year-old’s face was lit up by a series of green projections from supporters, almost certainly deterring Egypt’s star man as he looked to exorcise the demons of the AFCON final.

However, whether or not because of the laser pointers or not, Salah was unable to Egypt off the mark as he missed the target with a torrid spot-kick that you can check out below:

Shocking scenes.

Senegal reach the World Cup

The only saving grace is that Salah wasn’t alone with the opening four penalties of the shootout all failing to find the back of the net.

Nevertheless, in the end, Egypt’s early misses proved damning as Senegal once again won from 12 yards with Mane scoring a winning penalty for the second time in a matter of months.

The African champions will be delighted to play in a second consecutive World Cup with their top-class squad, containing the likes of Edouard Mendy and Idrissa Gueye, ready to make an impact.

CAIRO, EGYPT – MARCH 25: Omar Gaber of Egypt and Sade Mane of Senegal compete for the ball during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualification match between Egypt and Senegal at Cairo International Stadium on March 25, 2022 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Mohamed Hossam/Getty Images)

Worrying use of laser pens

However, there is no denying that their penalty shootout victory on Tuesday night will be overshadowed by the alarming behaviour of a small number of fans shining laser pens in players’ faces.

Besides, there have been suggestions from some experts that laser pens can do more than merely distract footballers, potentially harming the health of players in extreme circumstances.

Ophthalmologist and retinal specialist Dr. Robert Josephburg is an example of one such expert who has spoken about the potential dangers of laser pens being shone at sportspeople before.

According to Goal, Josephburg told Yahoo! Sports during a 2013 interview: “I have been stunned at the power of these things. We are talking about serious damage even if someone is only exposed to it for a few seconds.

“We are seeing young kids getting access to these pointers, and sports is an area to worry about, especially if fans are trying to get an advantage for their team. People have to realize this is not fun and games; it is serious stuff.

“You are endangering someone’s vision. There can be huge repercussions and a real risk of causing at least temporary, and possibly permanent damage to a person’s vision.

“If I was a ball player I would be terrified. I only hope Congress acts on this before some real harm is done. The retina is very sensitive and is not made to cope with light of that intensity.

Soccer Football – World Cup – African Qualifiers – Egypt v Senegal – Cairo International Stadium, Cairo, Egypt – March 25, 2022 Egypt’s Mohamed Salah celebrates after the match REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

“If shined for even a few seconds into someone’s eyes different symptoms can occur, temporary blindness, blurry vision, spotty vision, the sight may not even fully return.”

A huge congratulations to Senegal on qualifying for the World Cup, but we can only hope that we don’t see the use of laser pens like this at football matches, or any sporting context, again.

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