Salah not in Egypt starting line-up for Uruguay match

Sunday, 17 Jun, 2018

The two soaring temporary seating sections at either end of the pitch appeared to be nearly completely full, with one dominated by Egyptian fans and the other by the Uruguayans.

The Pharaohs were unable to hold Uruguay as Jose Giminez scored the lone goal at the death to complicate the matrix for the Pharaohs in the unpredictable group that also has host Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia.

Afterward, even Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez conceded that the result might have been different had Salah been on the field.

"We managed to hold off one of the best teams in the World Cup and only a small error led to them winning in the last minute", said 27-year-old Karim Mohamed who watched the match with friends in the United Kingdom.

A shoulder injury, however, following a tangle with Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos during the Uefa Champions League final in Kiev on May 25 nearly ended his World Cup campaign.

After the match Cuper claimed while Salah would have a welcome addition, he did not want to take any risks with his star man and stated his belief Salah would feature in future contests.

"I took Salah's shirt as a gift for my children, who also see him as a star", the Uruguayan said, speaking to reporters as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.

Salah scored 44 goals in his debut Liverpool season after signing from Italian side Roma for £34.3m.

With the game tailing off into a goalless draw, the Argentine took the decision to save Salah for the two weaker opponents in the group, Russian Federation and Saudi Arabia. "We tried to do that by creating frustration and blocking all their creative players", said Iran's coach Carlos Queiroz, the former assistant to Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and ex-Real Madrid coach.

With its traditional defensive tactics preferred by Cuper, Egypt badly needs Salah and his goals to succeed.

Despite the winless streak, a team coached by Tabarez has always made it out of the group stage, including a semifinal appearance in South Africa eight years ago. Instead, Iran matched their opponent's high tempo, canceling the game out and turning the match into a defensive affair that allowed Team Melli to steal three points late. "We've broken the spell".