Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Mohamed Salah watches on as Egypt lose to Uruguay late on

Mohamed Salah Mohamed Salah shares a joke with his Egypt teammates ahead of Friday's clash with Uruguay Credit AFP
Stacy Diaz | 15 June, 2018, 20:53

Uruguay's Jose Gimenez scores the goal for Uruguay.

Egypt's Mohamed Salah was named on the bench for his country's first 2018 World Cup match against Uruguay, but remained an unused substitute for the 1-0 defeat in Yekaterinburg on Friday.

The North Africans battled hard but Uruguay had the best of the chances with Luis Suarez missing a couple of decent opportunities and Edinson Cavani hitting the post with a free-kick.

Uruguay´s defender Jose Gimenez (C) celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Egypt and Uruguay at the Ekaterinburg Arena in Ekaterinburg on June 15, 2018.

Unfortunately for Egypt, Salah was apparently not ready to go yet, leaving the team to face Uruguay, the toughest team they'll play in the group stage of the tournament, without their star player.

Uruguay's last World Cup game was in 2014 when they lost 2-0 to Colombia thanks to a stunning James Rodriguez volley that went on to win the Puskas award.

A corner travelled all the way through to the Barcelona striker at the back post, but he scuffed his first-time finish and sent it bobbling into the side-netting with half of the goal gaping.

Suarez and his team-mates were quickly back on the front foot following the restart, though, and Cavani fed his strike partner for a low drive that El-Shenawy blocked bravely.

Suarez's woes continued into the second period when Egypt goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy produced a smart stop to deny him.

Egypt fans will be hoping to see Salah in their second match of the tournament, against hosts Russian Federation on Tuesday, 19 June.

Not just is it positive news for the Egyptians, but for fans, too, who are now able to enjoy Salah -hopefully- shine at a major global tournament.

"The Pharoahs on their part dictated the tempo of the game and had lots of possession which forced the Uruguay side to sit deep and rely exclusively on the counter-attack".

"There's a good degree of progress but no definitive decision on whether he takes part, as we are following his case day by day", team director Ihab Lahita told reporters.

"I can nearly assure you 100% he will play, save unforeseen circumstances at the very last minute", Cuper told reporters.

The game between Uruguay and Egypt is highly anticipated with latter team because the country will come off a virtual gridlock and now to their first FIFA World Cup match in almost three decades drought. "We wanted to avoid any risks in this match, but I think he will be fine for the next game". Egypt is a slight favorite to go through as runners-up to Uruguay and in front of Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia, but it still won't be easy.