Former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy claims that Mo Salah’s “ego” got the better of him ahead of Egypt’s penalty shoot-out loss.
Salah, who contributed two goals and an assist in seven matches, was down to take the fifth penalty as Egypt lost to Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations final on Sunday.
Liverpool striker Sadio Mane, who had earlier missed a seventh-minute spot-kick, converted the decisive penalty in the shoot-out after the game had finished 0-0 following extra time to spark ecstatic celebrations both at the Stade d’Olembe in Yaounde and back at home in Senegal.
If Mane was celebrating, club-mate Salah was left devastated after not being able to contribute in the shoot-out with two of his Egyptian team-mates missing penalties.
However, he will not have to wait too long for a chance to avenge his heartbreak when the sides meet over two legs in March with a trip to the World Cup finals awaiting the winner.
Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher said yesterday that it was “madness” from the Egypt coaching staff to allow their “best penalty taker” to take the fifth spot-kick.
And Murphy agrees with Carragher but he also reckons it was Salah’s decision and that his “ego” probably took over.
“I think ego takes over when you want to take the fifth,” Murphy told talkSPORT. “Instead of thinking, ‘what is best for the team?’
“I don’t think you should ever take the fifth. I remember what Carra is talking about when Ronaldo missed out.”
Murphy added: “I’ve heard people come on the show, who have written books about taking penalties and have done podcasts on taking penalties.
“None of them have taken penalties in big games and understood it. Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanence so if you’re practicing the right thing that’s fine.
“But you can’t recreate pressure, it is impossible and you can’t recreate what the keeper is going to do.
“So did you notice in the final last night, one keeper stayed big and strong and central and then he went? [Edouard] Mendy went up and down the line, which is a difficult one.
“So this thing about there being a perfect way or a perfect preparation, you can cover certain aspects but there are some you can’t.
“Ultimately, I think if you go up to take a penalty in a positive frame of mind and you are not worried about repercussions…
“Your best penalty taker shouldn’t be fifth – that I do agree on. So many times you don’t get a fifth penalty.”
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