Much has been made this season about the contrast between Mohamed Salah’s actual and perceived ability across the footballing world, with the 23-goal man inexplicably missing out on a spot in the World XI to a 36-year old with half his output living off nearly decade-old exploits, despite very clearly being a far superior player at this point.
The regular penalty take for the Reds, Salah has come under some criticism — mostly by yours truly, to be honest — for looking unconvincing from the spot, despite scoring 16 consecutive penalties at one point. A pair of misses in the past few months — including a decisive one in a 0-1 loss to Leicester — has suggested some vulnerability in the Egyptian’s strategy of ‘pretty hard, somewhere on target’, while Fabinho’s impeccable record in Salah’s absence might just have begun to sow doubts about whether Mo should remain a shoe-in for penalty duty on Mersesyide.
In the Egypt international team there are no such doubts, however, and when time came for the fifth and final penalty in the Round of 16 penalty shootout with the Ivory Coast tonight, there was only one man for the job.
In fairness, while his run-up remains utterly terrifying, it does appear Mo had picked his spot, and the shot would likely have been unsaveable even if Sangare hadn’t gone the wrong way.
The shootout win secured Egypt’s advancement to Sunday’s quarter-final, where they will take on Morocco for a spot in a semi-final clash with either Burkina Faso or Tunisia.