Legendary Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher has slammed Egypt’s coaching crew for their decision to leave Mohamed Salah to be the fifth penalty taker after the Pharaohs lost the AFCON final to Senegal on spot-kicks.
The two teams played out a 0-0 draw over 120 minutes in Sunday’s final in Cameroon, leaving a shootout to decide who would be named the best team in Africa.
After Egypt’s Mohamed Abdelmonem and Mohanad Lasheen missed their efforts from 12 yards, Senegal’s fifth taker Sadio Mane slammed his spot-kick into the bottom corner to secure a first ever AFCON title for his country.
His Liverpool teammate Salah was down to take Egypt’s next penalty but did not get the chance to step up.
Sharing his thoughts on Twitter, Carragher said: “That is why your best penalty taker should never go fifth.
“Mo Salah not taking a penalty for Egypt in a shootout in a final is madness. Also happened to Ronaldo years ago for Portugal v Spain.”
Asked by a fan who was down for the fifth penalty that was never taken in Liverpool’s famous 3-2 shootout win in the 2005 Champions League final, Carragher said: “Stevie [Gerrard] was on the fifth pen, but he wasn’t our official penalty taker then! Rafa chose him last because he felt he would handle the pressure best.”
Dietmar Hamann, who took and scored the first penalty in Istanbul, joked: “Best penalty taker should go first.”
Asked by journalist Sid Lowe whether there was an argument that the fifth penalty taker needed to be someone who can handle the pressure if it comes to it, Carragher replied:“That’s the theory or someone who the manager thinks can handle pressure moments. I’m interested in if it’s the managers decision or the player.”
The Sky Sports pundit also found it strange that Egypt won the coin toss before Sunday night’s penalty shootout but opted to let Senegal step up first.
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