Egypt manager Ehab Galal has revealed that Mohamed Salah played with an injury in their 1-0 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying victory against Guinea on Sunday.
The 29-year-old Liverpool forward started in the Group D opener as the Pharaohs left it late to snatch a crucial win against the Syli Nationale at Cairo International Stadium.
After a goalless first half, Mostafa Mohamed came off the bench to score what turned out to be the winner in the 87th minute. Despite his injury, Salah played the entire 90 minutes, and speaking after the game, Galal has explained how the superstar forward rejected Liverpool's request to undergo an X-ray.
Did Salah play for Egypt while injured?
“Salah was suffering from an injury and played through it,” Galal told reporters, as quoted by KingFut. “He rejected Liverpool’s request for an X-ray before the game and will now undergo it.”
Galal, who was taking charge of the team for the first time, also confirmed the decision to leave out Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny and Mahmoud Trezeguet.
“Mohamed Elneny would have been in the starting XI had he not been injured because he would have contributed to the offensive side,” Galal continued. “Afsha and Ibraimh Adel also improved the performance.
“Mahmoud [Trezeguet] will undergo a scan to see the extent of his injury, and Elneny may be involved against South Korea.”
The Egyptian FA has now confirmed the full extent of Salah's injury while revealing that he will play no part in their next AFCON qualification outing against Ethiopia."The coach decided to rest Salah and exclude him from the squad against Ethiopia due to a slight strain," the official statement published via Twitter reads.
Are Egypt making positive progress?
The win pushed Egypt into second spot in the group but Galal insists they will have to improve ahead of their next assignment.
“I thank the fans and the media for their support. I was confident about winning and I was surprised at half-time that we weren’t leading,” added Galal. “We preferred not to change the way we play to maintain the adaptability. I thank the players for what they have done.
“The team was doing well in the last period; therefore, I said I wouldn’t change the way of playing or the first-team squad. We’re definitely going to improve. I’m originally a football fan and I agree with the fans’ desire to watch entertaining football.”
Egypt also missed the services of Al Ahly goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shennawy and Ahmed Fetouh, as well as injured Ahmed Hegazi, but Galal has refused to blame the Egyptian champions for their absence.
“I will not blame Al Ahly’s exhausting players, especially Amr El-Sulya and Hamdi Fathi. The duo has returned from injury just recently,” Galal concluded.
The Pharaohs will now travel to face Ethiopia in their matchday two fixture at Bingu National Stadium on June 9.