Saturday,17 November, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1396, (31 May - 6 June 2018)
Saturday,17 November, 2018
Issue 1396, (31 May - 6 June 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Ill-fated end of the road

A dream season ends in despair for Mohamed Salah and Liverpool, reports Marawan Zayed


Salah, Ramos
Salah, Ramos

Saturday 26 May was the day that every single Egyptian waited for regardless of gender and age. Men, women, boys, girls and children all waited for the final of the European Champions League where our Egyptian king Mohamed Salah had the chance to write even more history and become the first Egyptian ever to win arguably the biggest club football competition in the world and give himself the chance of being crowned as the best player on the planet at the end of the year.

However, the feeling of optimism, excitement and hope we all had was dashed 30 minutes into the game as Salah suffered a shoulder injury and had to leave the field after a tussle with Sergio Ramos a few minutes earlier. When Salah fell to the ground in the 26th minute, the hearts of Egyptian/Liverpool fans skipped a beat as they feared the worst for their talisman. Unfortunately, our worst fears were confirmed a few minutes later as a destroyed Salah left the field in tears that led to tears inside the stadium and inside many homes around the world. Salah didn’t even notice that Cristiano Ronaldo tried to console him as he walked his way out of the field not knowing if he’ll be in Russia in a few weeks for the World Cup let alone losing the chance to shine in the biggest game of his career so far.

The scene was so painful that records were broken on social media with fans around the world showing their sadness and depression after seeing Salah leaving the field a broken man and in an inconsolable state. What makes it even worse is that Salah was having a very good game and looked very comfortable and relaxed until his injury. Predictably, Salah’s teammates looked shocked when they saw their best player and top scorer leaving the field and it showed in their performance for the remaining 15 minutes of the first half despite being in complete control of the game in the first half an hour.

And just when Salah and Liverpool fans thought it couldn’t get any worse, the Reds’ goalkeeper Loris Karius had another opinion as a terrible and childish mistake gifted Real Madrid the lead in the 51st minute. A long pass was collected comfortably by Karius who for some reason wanted to play the ball very quickly only to see Karim Benzema stick his leg out to block the pass. That hopeful block saw the ball end up in the back of the net much to the shock of everyone inside the stadium and watching in front of the TV. This was the type of goal you’ll see every 50 or 100 years in any football game let alone the final of the Champions League.

Four minutes later Sadio Mane equalised for the Reds 1-1 as Dejan Lovren’s header from a corner was flicked into the back of the net by the Senegalese star who was the Reds’ best attacking player on the night. However, nine minutes later a worldly overhead kick from the substitute Gareth Bale put the Spanish giants in the lead once again to confirm that the Reds were in for a very difficult night that witnessed extremely rare goals.

Mane hit the post a few minutes later before Karius made sure this will surely be the worst day in his entire life. A long hopeful shot from Bale should have been collected very easily by Karius whose earlier mistake clearly affected him badly. He couldn’t get hold of the ball, squirming out of his hands into the back of the net in the 83rd minute to seal the game for Real Madrid at 3-1.

Karius’ worst day of his life ensured Salah went home heartbroken knowing he lost his biggest chance of lifting the world’s biggest and most prestigious football club trophy.

The hours after the game were all about Salah and his chances of making it to the World Cup in Russia as Egyptian fans went crazy knowing that without Salah the national team will be clueless, toothless and without any real hope of doing anything significant in the competition. Thankfully the news we all wanted to hear came out the following day as it was confirmed Salah’s injury will keep him out for only three weeks, not two months as rumours indicated earlier. Salah confirmed later his determination to be in Russia in an emotional post on social media: “It was a very tough night but I’m a fighter. Despite the odds, I’m confident that I’ll be in Russia to make you all proud. Your love and support will give me the strength I need.”

The post probably led to more tears around Egypt and Liverpool but showed how determined and persistent the Egyptian king is. We’re all sure that Salah will be in Russia from the very first game as no one deserves this chance more than he to make up for what happened in the Champions League final.

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