Premier League • England

Jamie Carragher slams Egypt’s Mo Salah AFCON final decision as ‘madness’

Mo Salah Egypt AFCON final February 2022

Jamie Carragher says it was “madness” from the Egypt coaching team to put Mo Salah down as their fifth penalty taker in their Africa Cup of Nations loss to Senegal on Sunday.

The former Liverpool defender could not believe how Salah did not get to take a penalty in the shootout. Salah’s Reds team-mate Sadio Mane, who had seen his seventh-minute spot-kick saved by goalkeeper Gabaski, converted the decisive penalty in a 4-2 shoot-out victory.

It was Senegal’s first AFCON triumph against seven-times winners Egypt at the Stade d’Olembe in Yaounde. After a tense 0-0 draw after extra-time Mohamed Abdelmonem blasted his effort from 12 yards against the post and Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy saved from substitute Mohanad Lasheen.

Salah though never got a chance to take his penalty as he was their fifth penalty taker in their 4-2 shootout defeat.

And Carragher was confused at Egypt’s decision to put their “best penalty taker” fifth on the list.

Carragher said on Twitter: “That is why your best penalty taker should never go fifth.

“Mo Salah not taking a penalty for Egypt in a shootout in a final is madness. Also happened to [Cristiano] Ronaldo years ago for Portugal v Spain.”

When asked by a fan who was on the fifth penalty – which was never taken – in the Reds’ 3-2 shoot-out victory over AC Milan in the famous 2005 Champions League final, Carragher replied: “Stevie [Gerrard] was on the fifth pen, but he wasn’t our official penalty taker then! Rafa chose him last because he felt he would handle the pressure best.”

Didi Hamann scored the first penalty that day in Istanbul and he joked: “Best penalty taker should go first.”

Mane has revealed the victory has been the highlight of his career to date.

The West Africans had previously lost two Nations Cup finals, including a 1-0 defeat by Algeria three years ago.

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Mane: AFCON more important than Champions League

“It’s the best day of my life and the best trophy of my life,” Mane said, via the BBC.

“I won the Champions League and some [other] trophies but this is the special one for me. This is more important for me.

“I am happy for myself, my people and all of my family.

“When I missed the first penalty, it was a big blow for me,” he said.

“But my team-mates came to me and said ‘Sadio, we lose together and we win together. We know you. You have done too much for us – keep on going’.

“That made me stronger and I think it made the difference when I got the second one.

“The trophy belongs to the whole Senegal team – everyone deserves it.”

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