Salah forced off injured for Egypt at AFCON

Mohamed Salah was substituted due to a suspected hamstring injury during the first half of Egypt‘s Africa Cup of Nations match against Ghana at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on Thursday.

The Liverpool forward pulled up while attempting a run in the 45th minute, and sat dejectedly on the turf awaiting treatment, before being replaced.

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Encouragingly for Pharaohs and Reds fans, the 31-year-old captain was able to walk off the pitch unaided — albeit in some discomfort — with the forward appearing to gesture towards his left hamstring as he received treatment.

Egypt coach Rui Vitória said after the teams’ 2-2 draw that the extent of the injury was unclear.

“I hope it’s not a big problem, but now, I don’t know, because it’s [too] early to see something,” Vitória said.

“I think it’s not dangerous, but let’s see. Let’s see if Salah recovers.”

Salah himself did not stop to speak to journalists in the mixed zone after the game, though he smiled and seemed able to walk without difficulty.

Moments after Salah was replaced, West Ham’s Mohammed Kudus — himself making a return from injury — opened the scoring for Ghana with a magnificent left-footed effort from outside the box after carving himself some space.

Kudus scored again in the second half but Egypt twice came from behind with goals from Omar Marmoush and Mostafa Mohamed to claim a point.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed in a news conference on Friday that Salah will undergo tests to asses the severity of the injury.

“We don’t know anything, we spoke last night and there was an assessment, they will do that and we will know more,” Klopp said. At that moment he was shocked… He felt it and we know how rarely Mo goes off so it is definitely something but I don’t have any more [info]. There will be an ultrasound and MRI and then we will see.”

Salah had endured a frustrating first half for the North African heavyweights as he was well marshalled by Gideon Mensah and had appeals for a penalty turned down after being blocked in the opposition box.

He salvaged a point for Egypt in their opener against Mozambique, converting a penalty in the 97th minute as the Pharaohs laboured to a 2-2 draw in their tournament opener.

Egypt, the most successful side in Nations Cup history, have won the tournament seven times, although Salah has twice been on the losing side in finals — in 2017 and 2022.

Ghana, who opened their tournament with a disappointing 2-1 defeat by Cape Verde, face Mozambique in their final Group B game on Monday, while Egypt conclude their opening round fixtures against Cape Verde in Abidjan.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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