AFCON review

Salah limps off with Egypt and Ghana both in danger of early exit

17 Jan 2024

Liverpool star substituted before half-time as West Ham and Ghana star Kudus scores twice in 2-2 draw

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Mohamed Salah limped off with an injury as his Egypt side drew 2-2 with a Mohammed Kudus-inspired Ghana at the Africa Cup of Nations, leaving both nations in danger of an early exit.

The Liverpool star was forced off late in the first half, but he was able to walk off the pitch.

Moments later in first-half stoppage time, Kudus shifted the ball on to his left foot before driving a low shot into the bottom-left corner from 20 yards out.

Omar Marmoush capitalised on a poor backpass to level for Egypt on 69 minutes, only for Kudus to put Ghana back in front two minutes later with another left-footed strike, his curled effort taking a slight deflection before going in.

Kudus is the first player to score a brace for Ghana at AFCON since Christian Atsu in 2015.

But Egypt equalised for a second time with 16 minutes remaining through Mostafa Mohamed.

Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny also started for Egypt, and played 68 minutes before being substituted, while AFC Bournemouth's Antoine Semenyo and Crystal Palace forward Jordan Ayew were starters for Ghana.

The result leaves Ghana needing to beat Mozambique in their final Group B match on Monday (20:00 GMT) to qualify for the last 16.

A win for Egypt against Cape Verde would guarantee their progress, while a draw could also be enough to advance, given the four best third-placed sides also go through.

Group B standings
Team Played Pts Goal difference
Cape Verde 1 3 +1
Egypt 2 2 0
Mozambique 1 1 0
Ghana 2 1 -1
What does it mean for FPL?

Salah's 28 per cent ownership in Fantasy Premier League will be waiting nervously for an injury update on the midfielder.

But Salah could be back in Merseyside next week in any case if Egypt are eliminated at the group stage. Liverpool host Chelsea on Wednesday 31 January in Gameweek 22 before visiting Arsenal four days later.

As for Kudus, who sits in 3.5 per cent of FPL squads, a group-stage exit should mean that he's available for West Ham's home meeting with Bournemouth on Thursday 1 February. 

Nigeria close in on last-16 spot

Elsewhere, three-time winners Nigeria took a huge step towards reaching the last 16 after beating hosts Ivory Coast 1-0 in Group A.

Former Watford defender William Troost-Ekong scored with a second-half penalty for a Nigeria side that featured current Premier League players Calvin Bassey, Ola Aina, Frank Onyeka and Alex Iwobi

Nottingham Forest defender Serge Aurier captained the Ivorians alongside club team-mate Ibrahim Sangare.

Ivory Coast need to beat Equatorial Guinea on Monday (17:00 GMT) to guarantee progress to the knockout stages.

As for Nigeria, a draw in their final Group A fixture against Guinea-Bissau would guarantee their spot in the last 16.

Group A standings
Team Played Pts Goal difference
Equatorial Guinea 2 4 +2
Nigeria 2 4 +1
Ivory Coast 2 3 +1
Guinea-Bissau 2 0 -4

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