Salah sends Egypt into last eight in Cup

Egypt's captain Mohamed Salah has led them into the last-eight of the African Cup of Nations.
Egypt's captain Mohamed Salah has led them into the last-eight of the African Cup of Nations.

Mohamed Salah has kept his quest for a maiden major international title alive, burying the decisive penalty as Egypt beat Ivory Coast 5-4 in a shootout to reach the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations.

Equatorial Guinea followed suit later on Wednesday to beat Mali 6-5 on penalties, but in a far more chaotic shootout.

Both Equatorial Guinea and Mali missed two of their first five spot kicks, and Mali defender Falaye Sacko eventually had the 16th penalty of the shootout saved by Equatorial Guinea's 20-year-old goalkeeper Jesus Owono.

There was then a VAR check to make sure Owono hadn't come off his line too early before the upset was confirmed and Equatorial Guinea's players could celebrate.

Both games ended 0-0 after extra time and the round of 16 ended without a goal from open play.

The quarter-finals are now set: Burkina Faso v Tunisia, Senegal v Equatorial Guinea, Gambia v host Cameroon and Egypt v Morocco.

For Egypt, Liverpool ace Salah sent his spot kick into the bottom right corner, sparking celebrations among the seven-time champions.

Egypt's keeper pulled off the only save of the shootout when he tipped Eric Bailly's penalty onto the crossbar and out. Abou Gaba had come on as a substitute in the 88th minute when Mohammed el-Shenawy was injured.

He pulled off another crucial save in extra time with a full-stretch dive to keep out a shot from Ibrahim Sangare that seemed destined for the top corner.

Egypt haven't won the Cup of Nations since 2010, when Salah was a teenager.

He made his debut for his country the year after. Salah lost in the final with Egypt in 2017 and was part of the team that was surprisingly eliminated on home soil in the last 16 in 2019.

Both teams had clear-cut chances at the Japoma Stadium in Douala on Wednesday.

Salah's snap-shot in the first half was one of them. It was tipped over the bar by Ivory Coast keeper Badra Ali Sangare.

Ivory Coast lost AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie to an injury in the first half and Egypt gained impetus from that.

But el-Shenawy, Egypt's starting goalkeeper, had to pull off a double save in the 85th minute to keep his team in the game. He hurt his right leg in the process.

Egypt's quarter-final against Morocco on Sunday will now be played at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde after the Confederation of African Football moved it away from the tournament's main Olembe Stadium because of Monday's deadly crush.

Eight fans died and seven are in a serious condition after an incident blamed on security failings at the stadium.

Australian Associated Press