Pharoah subdued the elephants on 5-4 penalties to book a quarter-final spot
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It was a tough encounter that saw both the Pharaohs and the Elephants block every shot for up to 120 minutes. The two teams had to separate on a 5-4 penalty shootout in favour of the Pharoah, who gracefully took a royal seat in the quarter finals.
The penalties came after the Elephants and the Pharaohs played a nil-nil tie in the regular 90 minutes at the Japoma Stadium in Douala. Mohammed Salah, who captained his team to victory, scored the last spot kick for Egypt to cruise to the quarter finals as Bailly lost the spot kick for Ivory Coast.
Eric Bailly at the presser revealed that he lost the penalty because each time he is face to face with Mohammed Salah, he always panics. It was a match of emotions as each side blocked shots, and tried to score. Egypt had only Mohammed Salah as their key striker while the likes of Serge Aurier and Nicolas Pepe made attempts for Ivory Coast. The misses on both sides drew shouts from supporters who wanted to see their favourite side score.
Mohammed Salah and Mostafa both lost chances to put Egypt ahead when Badra Ali Sangare made impressive saves. The game was intense from the start to finish and provided the spectators with one of the finest games of the continental showpiece.
Stadium attendance was low, though most supporters came to see the Liverpool star player, Mohammed Salah. Meeting for the 11th time, Egypt has only lost to Ivory Coast once, and has most often defeated the two-time Africa Champions.
The North African team, in their quest for the trophy, lost to Nigeria before picking up their pieces to beat Guinea 1-0 and Sudan 1-0 to proceed to the knockout stage. Ivory Coast’s coach says he cannot blame his players for giving it their all only to fall short on penalties.
“Egypt won on details, and it is not as if they lost all the penalties”, Coach Patrice Beaumelle stated. In a North African derby to determine who advances to the semi-finals, the seven-time African Champion would face Morocco.
The match, which will take place at the Yaounde Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium, promises to be a final before the final.