World: Africa Cup of Nations
2 - 1
(1 - 1)(0 - 1)
M. Salah (53), Trézéguet (100)
S. Boufal (7)
By Peter Weis@PeterVicey

AFCON updates: Marmoush assist helps propel Egypt to semis, Sarr and Senegal also advance

Both Bouna Sarr of FC Bayern München (Senegal) and Omar Marmoush of VfB Stuttgart (Egypt) are off to the 2021 Africa Cup of nations semi-finals after their respective countries won their quarterfinal ties today. 

Aymen Barkok of Eintracht Frankfurt (Morocco) is headed back to the Bundesrepublik after his country was eliminated, likely just in time to wrap of a transfer tomorrow. 
The Continental Championship dream of Mohammed Salah and the Egyptian Pharaohs continues after Carlos Queiroz's men defeated North African rivals Morocco 2-1 at the Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaoundé on Sunday. Two Bundesliga professionals squared off against one another in the closely contested AFCON quarterfinal matchup.

Striker Omar Marmoush (a VfL Wolfsburg player currently on loan at VfB Stuttgart) started his fifth consecutive match of the tournament. The 22-year-old once again featured up top in a 4-3-3 alongside Salah and Galatasaray's Mostafa Mohamed Ahmed Abdalla. In something of a surprise, Moroccan trainer Vahid Halihodzic handed current Eintracht Frankfurt attacker his first start of the competition. The perhaps soon-to-be Mainz midfielder lined up to the back-right of FC Sevilla striker Youssef En-Nesyri in a 4-1-4-1.

Former Borussia Dortmund fullback/winger Achraf Hakimi drew a penalty already in the 5th minute after a clear foul in the box from Egypt's Ayman Ashraf. Sofiane Boufal duly converted the spot kick to give the Lions of the Atlas an early 1-0 lead. In somewhat controversial fashion, it appeared as if Halihodzic ordered his men to focus on a concentrated defensive trap after that. Barkok often played very deep. At the other end, Marmoush and the Egyptian attack struggled to create clear-cut chances.

That changed after the restart. Queiroz brought on Mahmoud Ibrahim "Trezeguet" Hassan for the injured Ahmed Hegazi. The Aston Villa man immediately inserted some extra pop into the Pharaoh attack, barely missing his own chance in the 49th. Salah easily dusted off a Marmoush corner service in the 52nd to equalize Egypt were reinvigorated, unleashing wave after wave of attack behind Salah. Only some spectacular defensive work from Romain Saiss precluded Marmoush from scoring his own goal in the 62nd.

Queiroz opted to pull the Bundesligist in the 80th. The match headed into extra time. Six minutes into the added period the Egyptians--already operating without their first choice keeper Mohamed El Shenawy--also lost backup Mahomed About Gabal. Shortly after that, Salah ensured that third string nezminder Mohamed Sobha would have a lead to work with. The Liverpool star set up "Trezeguet" perfectly for the 2-1 in the 100th minute. Barkok's day ended four minutes after that, but not before he played a role in generating a worthy attempt at an equalizer.

Matters slowed down in the second added period of extra time. The Egyptians found the Moroccan waves a little easier to absorb. With the Atlas Lion keeper often playing forward, it would be the Egyptians who narrowly missed the 3-1 against an empty net.

Thanks to Salah's brilliance, the Pharaohs are through to the semis again. The continental record champions still seek their first title since the Port Said Stadium disaster plunged their program into disarray over a decade.

In other Bundesliga-related AFCON news, Bayern's Bouna Sarr started his fifth consecutive match of the tournament for Allow Cissé's Senegalese Lions of Teranga; once again back at his natural right full-back position.

Sarr and Senegal had a very busy day fending off a tough challenge from underdogs Equatorial Guinea. Cheikhou Kouyaté and Ismaila Sarr were nevertheless able to open the floodgates late to give Senegal the 2-1 victory.

After losing the 2019 Final to Algeria, the Terangan quest to avenge their defeat rolls on.

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