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Mohamed Salah’s nerveless shootout penalty takes Egypt past Ivory Coast | Africa Cup of Nations 2022

It ended, because it had for a very long time appeared that it might, with penalties. Eric Bailly, who had had a superb recreation, had his dinked effort pushed in opposition to the bar by Egypt’s substitute keeper Mohamed Abou Gabal, and that was sufficient for Egypt to increase their unbeaten run in opposition to Ivory Coast in Africa Cups of Nations to 6 video games and progress to the final eight. And it was sufficient for Carlos Queiroz to say one other triumph by suffocation.

Queiroz, unbending, unyielding, stays the identical as he at all times been. His hair could slowly be retreating from his crown with every passing 12 months however the hands-on-hip prowl round his technical space means the identical because it ever did. So too does the soccer. Queiroz has spent the event despairing of followers who doubt his cautious strategy and demand Egypt “kick the ball ahead, kick the ball ahead”, insisting he was content material to attend for “one small mistake, one rebound”.

Towards this Ivorian defence, it was much less more likely to be one small mistake than a number of large ones. The pitch in Douala might be much more disappointing than the media amenities, which maybe provides some excuse, however many times passes have been misplaced. As Queiroz had hinted, Egypt didn’t a lot attempt to create something as await Ivory Coast to current them with the ball however, as within the group stage, a vaunted ahead line squandered the alternatives. Omar Marmoush pinged a Fifteenth-minute shot off the bar however, that apart, Egypt’s menace was largely theoretical.

Eric Bailly had an excellent recreation for Ivory Coast however his failure from the spot finally proved the distinction. {Photograph}: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

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The Ivory Coast coach, Patrice Beaumelle, has twice gained the Cup of Nations as assistant to Hervé Renard and apes Renard’s well-known fortunate white shirt. The rugged Mills and Boon look, although, is somewhat undermined by his choice to pair the shirt with a pair of Jerry Seinfeld trainers.

Oddly what gave Ivory Coast an opportunity was the loss of Franck Kessié to damage after half an hour. Though that clearly weakened the Ivorians’ midfield, by encouraging Egypt to assault a bit extra, it did create house for them to counter into, as that they had so efficiently in opposition to Algeria. The outcome was that, because the tempo rose within the second half, the sport appeared a contest of the horrible ending of Egypt and the horrible crossing of Ivory Coast.

However Queiroz quickly put a cease to that. Egypt turned more and more conservative and wasted time at each alternative. It was all very acquainted; Egypt too have at all times been masters of that in the event that they really feel the sport is perhaps slipping type them, as Ivory Coast present in Cairo in 2006 within the Cup of Nations ultimate.

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Queiroz is a grasp of this. He preaches management and, whereas a shootout clearly provides no ensures, it was higher than the choice of taking Ivory Coast on in an open recreation. And when you’ve Mohamed Salah taking your ultimate penalty, that does tip issues in your favour. Morocco can be more durable to stifle on Sunday, however Queiroz won’t change: Egypt are within the final eight having solely scored two objectives.

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