Egypt boss explains why Mohamed Salah failed to make an appearance against Uruguay
Egypt coach Hector Cuper has insisted he did not deceive the media when he declared that his star man Mohamed Salah was ready to play on the eve of his side's World Cup opener against Uruguay.
Jose Gimenez proved Uruguay's saviour with a 90th-minute winner against Egypt in Ekaterinburg, as a less than inspiring game was given a cruel twist for Egypt and frustrated spectator Salah.
Liverpool forward Salah had not recovered from the shoulder injury he picked up in the Champions League final against Real Madrid and watched the game against Uruguay from the bench, despite chants from Egyptian fans for him to make an appearance.
"Mo Salah is an important player for us but you need to have a good team, and we have a good team," stated Cuper.
"Yesterday we were quite certain during the training session that he would be able to play. At the end of the training session, he was examined by the doctors and there is some doubt that if he fell or was hit by an opponent, he would have another injury.
"Salah will have an important role for us in the future matches. We wanted to avoid risks in this match, but I think he will be fine for the next game. We need him on top form in our next matches against Russia and Saudi Arabia.
"We have done the right thing and we had chances in this game. We just lacked the finishing touch to score a goal and in general terms, we played a good match. Now we start thinking about our next match against Russia."
In Salah's absence, Egypt lacked a cutting edge in the final third and while Luis Suarez struggled to impress for Uruguay, the South American side always looks like the most probable winners.
Despite their celebrations at the end, Uruguay were largely disappointing but late pressure eventually told as defender Gimenez headed in a free-kick to seal a 1-0 win which moves them level on three points with hosts Russia at the top of Group A.
Independent News Service