No Sallah for Salah

…As Uruguay Beat Egypt 1-0

A late dramatic goal from Jose Gimenez in the 89th minute gave Uruguay the most needed three points in Group A of the ongoing FIFA World Cup a day after Russia walloped Saudi Arabia 5-0 in the opening game.

What could have ended in a perfect birthday gift and party for Egypt’s talisman, Mohammad Salah, turned sour as Jose broke the deadlock late into the encounter. The thunderous header brought pain, agony and anguish to the Egyptians, and absolute joy to Paraguay.

The match earlier billed as a meeting of Luis Suarez and Mohamed Salah, by football buffs, failed to produce the savvy envisaged in Ekaterinburg.

While the Liverpool ace was pinned to the bench by head coach Hector Cuper, as he continues his rehabilitation from a shoulder injury picked from the match against Real Madrid in the Champions League final, a month ago, it seemed an imposter had taken over the body of his South American counterpart, Suarez.

Although Uruguay pinched the match with a couple of minutes remaining when Jose headed home a free kick, the form of their star player, Suarez, offered serious cause for concern. After five minutes, the Barcelona ace turned to his team-mates frustrated as he implored them to press their opponents higher up the field. That incident was to become a mere start to the exasperation the 31-year-old was to feel in the match.

Uruguay, as a team, struggled, particularly in the first half, but their inability to live up to their potential was personified in the form of the attacker as Egypt had a good start and effective control of their box; until that last minute momentary loss of concentration.

After the break, Edinson Cavani took up the challenge and was a thorn in the flesh of the defence of the Pharaohs.  He released a bullet shot in the first minute after the restart, but Mohamed El-Shenawy blocked his effort from a testing angle.

As time wore on, Suarez looked increasingly at a loss but remained prominent in the few opportunities that were created. When he had just the goalkeeper to beat, he dithered too long and allowed El-Shenawy to muffle the ball at his feet.

Now, Salah may have to postpone his birthday as his team have to win the next two matches against Saudi Arabia and Russia who are leading on the table to really celebrate.


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