Egypt suffered more Africa Cup of Nations shoot-out heartache as goalkeeper Lionel Mpasi scored the winning penalty to send DR Congo through to the quarter-finals.

All four of the Pharaohs’ knockout games in the 2021 tournament required additional time, culminating in a spot-kick defeat to Senegal in the final.

And, after a 1-1 draw following extra-time, they went the same way in San Pedro with an 8-7 loss on penalties.

Mostafa Mohamed continued to step up in the absence of the injured Mohamed Salah with his fourth goal in as many matches from the spot, cancelling out Meschack Elia’s opener, with Egypt hanging on in extra time following Mohamed Hamdy’s 97th-minute red card.

Mohamed missed from 12 yards the second time around and keeper Mohamed Abou Gabal also fluffed his lines, leaving opposite number Mpasi to hold his nerve and set up a last-eight clash with Guinea.

Elia was a threat from the off and wasted a promising opportunity inside two minutes, racing behind Egypt’s high defensive line before firing over.

Egypt soon settled and former West Brom defender Ahmed Hegazi should have done better when heading over Marwan Attia’s cross unmarked from six yards in the eighth minute.

Rui Vitoria’s side dominated possession without creating any more chances and they were punished in the 37th minute.

The warning signs were there as Theo Bongonda failed to keep a shot down from 15 yards and an excellent sliding challenge from Hamdi Fathi prevented Elia from firing at goal after Brentford striker Yoane Wissa picked out the Young Boys forward with a fine pass.

Elia would not be denied soon after, heading in on the goal line after Wissa’s cross was deflected beyond Abou Gabal as Egypt switched off from former West Ham left-back Arthur Masuaku’s throw-in.

But the Leopards were only ahead for eight minutes as VAR intervened to award a penalty for Dylan Batubinsika’s elbow on Hegazi, with Mohamed firing the spot-kick into the top corner.

Elia almost turned provider seven minutes after half-time, finding space on the right and providing a cross that Cedric Bakambu stabbed into the side-netting.

DR Congo defender Chancel Mbemba headed over from a corner before Egypt finally found their spark again with Ahmed Sayed Zizo and Attia forcing Mpasi into saves.

They looked more likely to find a winner, but could not create anything of note late on and were then put on the backfoot by Hamdy’s sending-off for two yellow cards, the second for a lunging tackle.

Masuaku blazed a free-kick over the bar and Samuel Moutoussamy fired wide from distance ahead of a dramatic shoot-out that ended with both goalkeepers stepping up.

Mohamed Salah was in the stands to watch Egypt scrape into the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations with a breathless 2-2 draw with Cape Verde.

The striker stayed on to watch his countrymen in their crucial final Group B match before flying back to Liverpool for treatment on a muscle injury.

He will have feared the worst with the Pharaohs staring at an early exit after falling behind to a goal from Gilson Tavares for the surprise group winners.

But substitute Trezeguet hauled them level and Mostafa Mohamed fired them ahead at the start of stoppage time.

The Blue Sharks then rocked Egypt by equalising through Bryan Teixeira, but Ghana being pegged back 2-2 by Mozambique meant the Pharaohs clung on to second place.

With Cape Verde having already topped the group, Egypt were hoping they might not play with the same intensity that brought them two wins out of two.

Cape Verde goalkeeper Vozinha saved from Mohamed and Omar Marmoush while Zizo fired narrowly wide.

But in first-half stoppage time and with Cape Verde’s first real opportunity, the surprise package took the lead.

Ryan Mendes headed the ball into the path of Tavares, who turned sharply before crashing his shot low into the net.

Trezeguet should have equalised moments after coming on as a half-time substitute but he blazed his shot over the crossbar.

But the Trabzonspor midfielder made his mark three minutes later when he played a brilliant one-two with Ahmed Hegazy before lashing an angled shot past Vozinha.

Trezeguet almost immediately put Egypt ahead but drilled his shot across Vozinha and wide.

Mohamed had a golden chance from Trezeguet’s cross but agonisingly lifted his effort over the top.

But two minutes into stoppage time Mohamed chased on to a ball over the top and lifted it over Vozinha.

A dramatic victory seemed to have been secured but there was still time for Teixeira to fire an equaliser in the ninth minute of added time, although somehow Egypt could still celebrate qualification in the most nail-biting circumstances.

Injured Egypt forward Mohamed Salah has accepted criticism of his recent performances as he backed his team-mates to beat Cape Verde without him in their must-win fixture on Monday.

The Liverpool star was hurt in Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Ghana, and may have already played his last match in this tournament if Egypt cannot find a way past group leaders Cape Verde.

The 31-year-old attended Sunday’s pre-match press conference alongside coach Rui Vitoria but declined to give an update on his injury, saying there would be a joint statement from Egypt and Liverpool by Monday.

Having been criticised for his displays in Egypt’s opening two matches, draws against Mozambique and Ghana, Salah said: “No worries about that. I accept it openly. I played in one-and-a-half matches only.

“Maybe the performance wasn’t the best in the first match. I’m not here to play individually but as part of the team.

“The positive thing is that despite being behind in the first two matches, we came back and drew. I don’t have a specific explanation for the performance, but football is a team game, and the most important thing is to win the next match.

“This is the Egypt national team, not Salah’s team. I’m a player among the others on the squad…I have already won all possible tournaments at all levels. I want to win the Africa Cup of Nations, and I believe it will happen sooner or later.”

Cape Verde have already secured qualification and top spot by winning their opening two fixtures, but coach Bubista has no plans to take it easy on Egypt.

“Everyone should be ready to contribute,” he said. “We have confidence in all the players, and we will do everything to win against Egypt.

“We have a great responsibility to win in front of our fans, and the group points are not closed yet. We must win against Egypt and we will play in the same way we played against everyone.”

Egypt captain Mohamed Salah was forced off with an injury before his side twice came from behind to draw 2-2 with Ghana in the Africa Cup of Nations.

Egypt and Liverpool fans face an anxious wait to discover the extent of the problem after the 31-year-old was forced off in the last minute of the first half of a thrilling Group B contest.

Salah slumped dejectedly to the ground with an apparent muscle injury and, after briefly being attended to by Egypt’s medical staff, handed over the armband to defender Ahmed Hegazi as he was replaced by Mostafa Fathi.

To add insult to injury, moments later West Ham forward Mohammed Kudus broke the deadlock in brilliant fashion as he held off the attentions of three defenders before drilling a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.

Salah, who scored a stoppage-time equaliser from the penalty spot as Egypt drew 2-2 with Mozambique in their first group game, had earlier been involved in a furious row with referee Pierre Atcho after Omar Marmoush went down in the area.

Salah appeared to be appealing for a penalty despite a free-kick being given against Marmoush and the former was perhaps fortunate not to be shown a yellow card for his vehement protests.

Despite the loss of Salah, Egypt started the second half well and had a goal disallowed for offside in the 51st minute before the impressive Marmoush was gifted the chance to equalise.

The 24-year-old pounced on a woeful backpass from Inaki Williams and calmly rounded goalkeeper Richard Ofori before sliding the ball into an empty net from a narrow angle.

Parity lasted just two minutes however, Kudus receiving a pass from Denis Odoi in the area and seeing his left-footed shot take a slight deflection off the unfortunate Mohamed Abdelmonem and beyond goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.

The breathless action showed no signs of slowing and Egypt equalised for the second time just three minutes later, with Ghana again guilty of contributing to their own downfall.

Osman Bukari was dispossessed by Trezeguet on the right-hand side of his own area and the Trabzonspor midfielder drove to the byline before pulling the ball back for Mostafa Mohamed to stab home.

Egypt coach Rui Vitoria has warned his team that Ghana will punish any mistakes ahead of their Africa Cup of Nations Group B clash on Thursday.

Egypt were held to a 2-2 draw by Mozambique in their opening game of the tournament on Sunday.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah’s penalty claimed a point for his country and Portuguese manager Vitoria has told his side they will need to be on top of their game against Ghana.

He said: “It’s going to be a different story. We will have to reduce the spaces and be more concentrated because against an experienced team like Ghana, the slightest mistake is paid dearly.”

Ghana lost their first game 2-1 to Cape Verde courtesy of Garry Rodrigues’ stoppage-time winner.

Vitoria also highlighted the tactical problems his side encountered during their draw to Mozambique.

He added: “Mozambique has a solid team, I said it before meeting them and that’s what happened.

“They gave us a lot of tactical problems with this low block. This team has excellent elements in midfield. They found gaps in us and they took advantage of it.”

Midfielder Trezeguet hopes Egypt’s final heartbreak of 2022 can act as motivation for Africa Cup of Nations success this year.

Egypt have not won the tournament since 2010 and have fallen at the last hurdle in their last two final appearances, more recently two years ago when they lost on penalties to Senegal.

The Pharaohs begin their campaign on Sunday when they take on Mozambique in Group B and Trezeguet is determined to go one step further and pick up the trophy this time around.

The 29-year-old Trabzonspor forward told the tournament’s official website: “It is really difficult to lose two finals.

“It is painful but we will try again to get the title. We must have what we deserve and we hope that this time luck will be on our side and that God will help us.”

Egypt will face Ghana in their next game and will conclude the group stage phase when they play Cape Verde and the former Aston Villa player admits it is not an easy group to progress from.

He added ahead of the opener in Abidjan: “It is a difficult group. It is not easy.

“All the African teams are strong and have very good players. We will play all the matches as finals and see what they look like We came here aiming for a new title.

“Since our arrival, the entire team has only one goal, to go be crowned champions.”

Mohamed Salah is rightly jealous of former Liverpool team-mate Dejan Lovren appearing at the World Cup, according to the Croatia defender.

Lovren is set to feature in the finals for Croatia and the centre-back knows he cannot come up against ex-Reds colleague Salah, who failed to qualify with Egypt.

A missed penalty from Salah in a shoot-out against Senegal in March proved costly as the Pharaohs missed out on a place in Qatar.

Asked on Sunday whether Salah would be jealous of him making it to the tournament, Lovren said: "One hundred percent! I would be jealous too.

"He said he would support me but, to be honest, I'm sad he didn't qualify. He was very close. He said he would come... with the Croatian flag!"

Croatia start their campaign against Morocco on Wednesday.

Salah helped Egypt beat Morocco during the Africa Cup of Nations in January, scoring in a 2-1 quarter-final victory, and he might have been able to give some useful pointers for Lovren.

"Did he give me a tip for Morocco? I didn't ask him, maybe it's too late now," Lovren said.

Lovren helped Croatia finish as runners-up at the 2018 World Cup, playing in the final against France, and he is adamant going one better is not out of the question this time.

In fact, Lovren is taking inspiration from how Liverpool rebounded from losing the 2018 Champions League final to Real Madrid, returning to the showpiece match a year later and beating Tottenham to take the trophy.

"We have everything we need, we just need to show it on the field," Lovren said. "I like this combination of seasoned veterans and young lions. A lot of things need to come together, everyone needs to be in their best shape.

"My personal thought, when I came to Qatar, was that I wanted to win the cup. When you have faith in yourself and in the team, anything is possible."

Lovren, now 33, plays for Russian club Zenit.

He is in the twilight of his international career and added: "If we were so close four years ago, why can't we do it again?

"That's what I said after the Champions League final when we lost to Real in 2018, so we became European champions a year later. Everything is possible in football, you just have to believe."

Belgium's final warm-up match before the World Cup ended in defeat as Mostafa Mohamed and Trezeguet struck to earn Egypt a 2-1 victory in Kuwait.

Mohamed took advantage of an uncharacteristic mistake from Kevin De Bruyne to fire the Pharaohs into the lead, before Trezeguet scored a minute after half-time to put them two goals to the good.

Lois Openda reduced the deficit with a close-range finish, but they could not find an equaliser as Roberto Martinez's men fell to a second consecutive defeat.

The defeat exposed¬ serious defensive deficiencies for Belgium ahead of their trip to Qatar, where they are hoping to better their run to the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup.

Belgium hit the bar within 10 minutes when Michy Batshuayi rattled the woodwork, though replays later showed the former Chelsea man was clearly offside.

After Thibaut Courtois twice denied Trezeguet, Arthur Theate sent a long-range curler looping onto the top of the net.

Mohamed gave Egypt the lead, capitalising on De Bruyne's poor touch before side-footing beautifully into the bottom right corner from outside the box.

Mohamed El Shenawy then made a big stop to save Yannick Carrasco's fierce drive and preserve his side's lead heading into the interval.

Egypt doubled their lead moments after the break, Trezeguet latching onto Mohamed Salah's excellent throughball before rifling home as Belgium continued to look shaky at the back.

Martinez's men screamed for a penalty when half-time substitute Openda was felled by Ahmed Hegazy, but a VAR review decided not to award a spot-kick.

Belgium pressed to pull a goal back but they struggled to break though Egypt's resolute defence, with Youri Tielemans firing well over from range almost out of frustration.

They did find a goal back through Openda when he was picked out by a superb Carrasco cross, but they could not kick on and find an equaliser.

Reigning Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions Senegal and continental powerhouse Ivory Coast have been drawn together for the 2022 African Nations Championship (CHAN).

The biennial tournament is due to be held in Algeria in January and February 2023, with 18 teams competing across five groups. The participants must consist only of players playing in their domestic national league competitions.

Group B looms as the toughest with Senegal drawn alongside two-time AFCON winners Ivory Coast, as well as DR Congo and Uganda. DR Congo missed out on 2022 World Cup qualification in the playoffs to Morocco.

Hosts Algeria are in Group A with 2014 winners Libya, Ethiopia and Mozambique, while Morocco, who have lifted the past two African Nations Championship titles, are in Group C with Ghana, Sudan and Madagascar.

Mali, Angola and Mauritania are in Group D and Cameroon, Congo and Niger make up Group E.

Egypt, who lost last year's AFCON final to Senegal, along with 2022 World Cup participants Tunisia did not enter, while Nigeria failed to qualify.

Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Edouard Mendy have made the final three-man shortlist for the African Football's (CAF) Men's Player of the Year award.

The trio all plied their trade in the Premier League last season, though Mane has since left Liverpool to join Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Mane scored 23 goals in 51 games for Liverpool in his final season at Anfield, winning the EFL Cup and FA Cup and reaching the Champions League final, as well as scoring the winning penalty in the shoot-out to win the Africa Cup of Nations for Senegal in February.

His former Reds team-mate Salah was on the losing Egypt side in that AFCON final, but had a stellar club campaign in 2021-22, scoring 31 goals in 51 games for Jurgen Klopp's men.

Mendy did not enjoy the same success for Chelsea as he had in 2020-21 when he won the Champions League, though kept 22 clean sheets in 49 games in all competitions in 2021-22, and did lift the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup with the Blues, while also being a part of the successful Senegal team at the AFCON in Cameroon

The seven players to miss out from the 10-man longlist released last week are another Liverpool man in Naby Keita, Mendy's new Chelsea and international team-mate Kalidou Koulibaly, as well as Riyad Mahrez, Vincent Aboubakar, Karl Toko Ekambi, Achraf Hakimi and Sebastien Haller.

Due largely to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been three years since the award was handed out, with Mane winning in 2019 ahead of Salah and Mahrez.

The final three for the Women's Player of the Year award are Grace Chanda of Zambia and BIIK Kazygurt, Ajara Nchout Njoya of Cameroon and Inter, and Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria and Barcelona.

The winners of both awards will be announced on Thursday.

Mohamed Salah has achieved "nothing" with Egypt and the Liverpool star must raise his level when featuring for the national team, according to former Pharaohs coach Hassan Shehata.

In response, Egypt's former sports and youth minister Khaled Abdel Aziz defended the forward, calling him a wonderful ambassador and unifying figure for the country.

Salah scored 31 goals and provided 15 assists across all competitions for Liverpool as they won the EFL and FA Cups last season, also finishing as runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League.

But the forward experienced a more frustrating campaign on the international front, as Egypt lost the Africa Cup of Nations final on penalties to Senegal in February and suffered the same fate in March's crucial World Cup qualification play-off – with Salah missing from the spot in the latter contest.

Those disappointing results have led Shehata, who coached Egypt from 2004 to 2011 and won consecutive Africa Cup of Nations titles in 2006, 2008, and 2010, to call for improvements from Salah.

"We all know that Salah is one of the stars of the world and not just one of the stars of Egypt," he told Sada al-Balad. "The awards he took and the goals he scored give him the right to be the top star.

"But technically, and I'm sorry to say this, Salah has done nothing with the national team. He should have done much better than he has. He must provide more when he plays for his country."

However, Shehata did admit Salah was playing with inferior players when joining up with the national team, and said it was up to coaches to get the best from the 30-year-old after Egypt put in a series of dull displays at this year's Cup of Nations.

"It's true [that there is a difference in quality compared to Liverpool]," Shehata said. "He should have said this to the officials here - although he is not the one who chooses the players - but he should've said that the players here are not like the players in England."

Shehata's criticisms have not gone unnoticed in Egypt, with the country's former sports minister Aziz defending Salah's role on and off the pitch.

"Mohamed Salah was one of the most important soft forces that returned life in Egypt to normal after the [2013] June 30 revolution," he wrote on Twitter, alongside an image of himself with the Liverpool star.

"He was a wonderful global ambassador for his country in a difficult political period and led the national team to the World Cup after 28 years [in 2018].

"And despite the suspension of the league [after deaths occurred amid stadium violence in 2015] and then the league of the two groups, he led the team to the final of Africa [Cup of Nations] 2017 after three consecutive times we did not qualify at all."

Egypt are seeking their third head coach of the calendar year after sacking Ehab Galal after only three games at the helm last week, just two months on from Carlos Queiroz quitting the role.

Egypt's team doctor has stated Mohamed Salah was still suffering with an injury when he played for Liverpool in the Champions League final.

Liverpool talisman Salah suffered an adductor injury in the FA Cup final win over Chelsea on May 14, and was unavailable for the Reds' next Premier League fixture.

The forward came off the bench to score in a 3-1 win over Wolves on the final day before playing the full match against Real Madrid in Paris on May 28, though he was unable to inspire Liverpool to a seventh European crown as Vinicius Junior's second-half goal gave Los Blancos a 1-0 victory.

Salah then captained Egypt in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier against Guinea on June 5.

After that match, Egypt coach Ehab Galal claimed Liverpool had asked Salah to have an X-ray prior to featuring for his country, but he refused.

Egypt's team doctor Mohamed Abou El Ela said Salah, who turned 30 on Wednesday, had stated Galal had to prioritise the Guinea match for the skipper to feature in due to the injury he was carrying.

"Salah's injury occurred during the FA Cup final in the adductor muscles, then he played against Wolves and in the Champions League final, and all of this in just 14 days," he told On Time Sports.

"We send and receive players with medical reports, and Liverpool's said that he had pain and should get an X-ray, there's not a 100 per cent fit player, but there's the question of whether he can push himself and play without risk.

"The club thought that one game is enough and we chose the Guinea game because the second against Ethiopia would be hard for him to travel in a long flight. He couldn't play another game after three days."

Across all competitions, Salah played 4,013 minutes for Liverpool in the 2021-22 season – the fourth-highest total in Jurgen Klopp's squad, behind Alisson (4,890), Virgil van Dijk (4,620) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (4,233).

Of his 51 appearances, 45 were starts, with Salah scoring 31 goals and providing 15 assists as Liverpool won the FA Cup and EFL Cup and finished second in the Premier League along with their run to the Champions League final.

Egypt manager Ehab Galal claimed Liverpool star Mohamed Salah played through an injury during his country's 1-0 win against Guinea on Sunday.

Salah played the whole of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier, which saw The Pharaohs win with a late Mostafa Mohamed strike.

Galal said after his first game in charge of Egypt since taking over from Carlos Queiroz that Liverpool asked for Salah to have an x-ray beforehand, but the player refused.

"Salah was suffering from an injury and played through it," Galal said, according to KingFut. "He rejected Liverpool’s request for an x-ray before the game and will now undergo it."

Egypt play away to Ethiopia on Thursday in another AFCON qualifier, before a friendly next Tuesday against South Korea.

Salah had a productive season for Liverpool, jointly winning the Premier League's golden boot with Son Heung-min of Tottenham on 23 goals, while also claiming the Football Writers' Association and PFA Fans' Player of the Year awards.

He also won the EFL Cup and FA Cup with the Reds, though Jurgen Klopp's side narrowly missed out on the Premier League title to Manchester City before losing the Champions League final to Real Madrid.

Salah - who also recorded the most assists in the Premier League during the campaign with 13 - is out of contract at the end of next season, and has been linked with a free transfer to Barcelona should he be unable to agree a new deal at Anfield.

FIFA have ordered the Senegalese Football Federation to play a competitive match behind closed doors and fined them $180,000 after a series of incidents in March's World Cup qualifier against Egypt, including the use of laser pens to target Liverpool star Mohamed Salah.

After Egypt and Senegal each claimed 1-0 home wins in their two-legged play-off for World Cup qualification, Salah was targeted by a number of laser pens as he missed his penalty in the decisive shoot-out in Dakar, which Senegal went on to win.

Egypt lodged a complaint after their defeat, which came little over a month after the Pharaohs had lost the Africa Cup of Nations final on penalties to the same opponents, also claiming Salah was subject to racist abuse and their team bus targeted by missiles before the game.

Just as he did in February's Africa Cup of Nations final, Salah's Liverpool team-mate Sadio Mane netted the winning spot-kick to hand Senegal a place at the Qatar World Cup.

Now, FIFA's disciplinary committee has punished the African champions for a series of offences, including a "failure to implement existing safety rules and failure to ensure that law and order are maintained in the stadium."

Senegal have also been punished for an "invasion of the field of play, throwing of objects, lighting of fireworks, use of laser pointers and use of objects to transmit a message that is not appropriate for a sports event."

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Football Federation have also been ordered to play a match behind closed doors, and received a fine of $154,000, after a pitch invasion that followed their away-goals elimination against Ghana in Abuja.

Senegal will be making their third appearance at the FIFA World Cup later this year, and will kick the tournament off when they face the Netherlands in Group A on November 21 – the first time since 1954 where the tournament's opening match doesn’t involve either the hosts or the defending champions.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted star Mohamed Salah will finish the season strong after having his minutes managed in recent weeks.

Salah, who has 28 goals in 40 club appearances in all competitions this season, has only played a full 90 minutes once since Liverpool's home loss to Inter on March 8.

The Egyptian forward led his country to a runners-up finish in the African Cup of Nations in January, but has not scored for Liverpool from open play since February 23.

But Klopp is not worried about his star's production, highlighting the intensity of his recent schedule.

"I know that Mo will finish strong," he said. "It’s just at the moment we have to reset because each game for us is a final. From the beginning of January, that is crazy.

"The problem we have is that in January he had the most intense period in his whole career. The tournament went to the wire. 

"They played in the (Africa Cup of Nations) final, they had all these 120 minutes, the role he has is super, super massive. 

"There is a huge responsibility on his shoulders with dressing room meetings and stuff like this with no recovery at all."

Salah played all 90 minutes last time out against Manchester City, collecting an assist in the 2-2 draw.

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