Mohamed Salah is set to miss two matches at the Africa Cup of Nations after suffering a hamstring strain in Egypt’s draw with Ghana on Thursday, but has avoided a more significant injury, the Egyptian Federation have confirmed.
The 31-year-old limped off late in the first-half of the 2-2 Group B draw, prompting fears that his Nations Cup was over and concern that his participation in Liverpool’s Premier League title challenge would be affected.
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (U.S.)
However, a statement issued by the EFA on Sunday indicated that the forward could be set to return to action for the AFCON quarterfinals on Feb. 2 and 3.
“Mohamed Salah has suffered a strain in his hamstring muscle and will miss two matches at the Africa Cup of Nations,” a statement released on the Egyptian Federation’s social handles began.
“The x-rays that Egyptian national team captain Salah underwent showed that he suffered a strain in the posterior muscle, and he will miss the team’s next two matches at the AFCON — against Cape Verde, and then the Round of 16 match in the event of qualification.”
Egypt are set to face their next group-stage opponents on Jan. 22 and could advance to a round of 16 match, scheduled between Jan. 27 and Jan. 29.
Salah sat dejectedly on the turf after pulling up in Thursday’s fixture, and was promptly substituted after receiving treatment on the pitch.
Encouragingly, the Egypt captain was able to walk to the bench — albeit in some discomfort — and was later seen smiling as he walked through the mixed zone in footage shared on social media.
Speaking after the match, head coach Rui Vitória expressed his optimism that Salah’s injury wasn’t serious, and will now be hoping that the Pharaohs talisman can return to play his part in the latter stages of the competition.
Speaking in a news conference on Friday, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp revealed his concern at seeing Salah substituted in pain, considering the attacker’s outstanding injury record. Should Egypt go all the way to the AFCON final, Salah’s first Premier League fixture back for the Reds could be away at Brentford on Feb. 17.
With Salah absent, West Ham United’s Mohammed Kudus netted twice for the Black Stars during a magnificent individual display, with Omar Marmoush and Mostafa Mohamed responding for the North Africans to ensure the points were shared.
Salah scored a 97th-minute penalty equaliser for Egypt in their tournament opener against Mozambique — a 2-2 draw — but endured a frustrating first-half against Ghana before his withdrawal.
Seven-time AFCON winners Egypt conclude their group-stage campaign against Cape Verde, who have already won Group B, while Ghana meet Mozambique as they attempt to seal their place in the knockouts.