Mohamed Salah Inspires Egypt To AFCON Semis With Goal, Assist In Comeback Win Over Morocco

Egypt came from a goal down to defeat Morocco 2-1 in extra time and advance to the semifinals of the Africa Cup of Nations — where host nation Cameroon awaits — with captain Mohamed Salah providing an inspirational goal and assist for the Pharaohs on Sunday.

Morocco's opening goal came early. If you want an example of why Kylian Mbappé thinks Achraf Hakimi is the best right back in the world, here's one. 

Hakimi exchanged passes in his own half, took possession at the halfway line and tore at Egypt's defense until Ayman Ashraf scythed him down for a penalty after the referee looked at the monitor. 

Sofiane Boufal's sixth-minute spot kick was unstoppable. 

Egypt's response was steady and Morocco keeper Bono was forced into one good save before halftime, but it wasn't until the second 45 that we saw the best from Salah, including a bodying of defenders to work a chance for Trézéguet.

It was Salah who'd grab the equalizer on 53 minutes. Bono denied Mohamed Abdelmonem's stooping header off a corner kick, but Salah was lurking at the back post and presented with the rebound.  

Tempers were flaring — the moments following every whistle were high quality theater — and you could tell we'd reached a boiling point after Morocco was given a soft free kick in a dangerous area. Shortly after, we had the start of a touchline brawl and beIN SPORTS immediately cut to its goddamn commercials.

Thankfully we got the highlight on Twitter. 

It's pretty great how Munir El Haddadi, trying to play the peacekeeper between Mostafa Mohamed and Hakimi, gets the brunt of the ref's no-nonsense approach. 

We went to extra time in Yaoundé as Morocco continued to threaten off set pieces and Egypt looked to work its possession into openings. Morocco's Romain Saïss sent a header over and Munir did the same with an effort from distance, while Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed Abou Gabal, who'd clearly been struggling with a hamstring injury, was replaced by the uncapped 22-year-old Mohamed Sobhy.

Extra time of the AFCON quarterfinals — with the threat of a shootout on the horizon — is one hell of a moment to make your international debut in goal.

But you needn't worry about such things when you've got Salah. In the 100th minute, Salah collected the ball out wide and ran at his marker. The Liverpool winger squared up Nayef Aguerd on the edge of the area, turned him inside out, and delivered the perfect ball across the face of goal for Trézéguet.  

The Pharaohs should've added a third at the death when a Morocco free kick – with Bono up — directly led to a counter going the other way, but no matter — the Atlas Lions had nothing left. 

Egypt hasn't won AFCON since 2010, finishing runner-up in 2017 before getting bounced in the last-16 in 2019. This is starting to feel like Salah's tournament, but there's that same growing feeling about the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. Something's got to give on Thursday.

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