Egypt’s World Cup dreams were shattered in a penalty shootout loss to Senegal
Mo Salah was targeted by laser beams before shooting his penalty over the crossbar in Egypt’s World Cup qualifier defeat in a controversial game against African rivals Senegal.
Preparing to take his team’s first penalty in the shootout in Dakar, Egypt captain Salah was seen with green dots strewn across his face and body as fans in the stands aimed laser pens at him.
The Liverpool star fired wildly over the bar before teammates Ahmed Sayed and Mostafa Mohamed also missed their shots as Senegal won the shootout 3-1 to book a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Salah was just one of many Egyptian stars, including goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy, who was targeted with lasers throughout the encounter as soon as the teams lined up for the pre-match anthems.
The clash was a repeat of last month’s Africa Cup of Nations final – which Senegal also won on penalties – but this time a place for Qatar was on the line.
Egypt led the draw 1-0 on aggregate after the first leg in Cairo, but Senegal leveled the score after just four minutes in the second leg.Diamniadio Olympic Stadium on Tuesday thanks to an own goal from Hamdi Fathi.
In a game marred by fouls and spirit of play, Senegal had the best of the game, dominating possession and managing 25 shots but without making another breakthrough.
Egypt substitute Zizo fended off two chances after being presented in the 70th minute, while Senegal’s Ismaila Sarr was also guilty of a missed kick as the encounter headed for a shootout.
The first four kicks were missed – including Salah and Senegalese skipper Kalidou Koulibaly – before Sarr put Senegal ahead.
Amr El Solia netted Egypt’s opening effort but Bamba Dieng then made it 2-1 before Edouard Mendy saved from Mostafa Mohamed.
Salah’s Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane struck the decisive penalty as Senegal ensured he would make successive World Cup final appearances after his trip to Russia four years ago.
It will be the third time in the country’s history that they have reached the FIFA showpiece.
Salah did not respond to laser taunts, but he and other Egyptian stars were pelted with objects in fiery scenes as they walked off the pitch.
The furious Egyptian FA claimed players had been targeted by “racism” sections of the crowd of 50,000 in Dakar as well as pre-match attacks.
“The Egyptian national team has been exposed to racism with offensive signs in the stands against Egyptian players in general, and Mohamed Salah in particular,” read a statement.
“The crowd also intimidated the players by throwing bottles and rocks at them during the warm-up.
“The Egyptian group’s buses have also been exposed to attacks that have resulted in glass breakage and injuries; filed with photos and videos as evidence in the filed complaint.
Egypt did not follow its appearance in Russia and will be forced to miss a seventh World Cup in the last eight editions of the tournament.