Liverpool legend Carragher baffled at Egypt for Salah ‘madness’

Joe Williams
Liverpool forward Mo Salah looks gutted

Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher was baffled by the Egypt coaching team’s decision to put Mo Salah down as their fifth penalty taker in their Africa Cup of Nations loss to Senegal on Sunday.

Liverpool striker Sadio Mane, who had seen his seventh-minute spot-kick saved by goalkeeper Gabaski, nervelessly converted the decisive penalty in a 4-2 shoot-out victory over seven-times winners Egypt at the Stade d’Olembe in Yaounde after a tense 0-0 draw played out over 120 gruelling minutes.

It was no more than the Lions of Teranga deserved after dominating for long periods, only to be denied repeatedly by Gabaski, but they finally got their chance when Mohamed Abdelmonem blasted his effort from 12 yards against the post and Chelsea keeper Edouard Mendy saved from substitute Mohanad Lasheen.

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Liverpool forward Salah was down as their fifth penalty taker but did not get to take his spot-kick after his team-mates missed two penalties.

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

The former Liverpool defender commented 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.”

Meanwhile, former Premier League midfielder Jermaine Jenas thinks that Mane carried Senegal “on his shoulders” during their first ever AFCON triumph.

Jenas told the BBC: “Sadio Mane has put his country on his shoulders and given the title to them. This is Senegal’s golden generation and they have managed to do it, it is a big moment for the country.

“Mane hit that penalty without any doubt he would score, which is incredible with the pressure he was under.

“You can see Mane is a leader. We know he is a top, top footballer, but the growth in the player over the years was very visible today in the biggest moment of his life.”