Egypt lost Mohamed Salah to injury before coming from behind twice to draw 2-2 with Ghana in their potentially decisive Africa Cup of Nations match.
Mohammed Kudus scored both goals for Ghana but the Black Stars were let down by defensive mistakes as Omar Marmoush and Mostafa Mohamed capitalised to dent the four-time champions’ hopes of making the knockout stage.
Mohamed Salah was substituted due to a suspected hamstring injury during the first half of Egypt’s Africa Cup of Nations match against Ghana at the Felix Houphouet Boigny Stadium in Abidjan on Thursday.
The Liverpool forward pulled up while attempting a run in the 45th minute, and sat dejectedly on the turf awaiting treatment, before being replaced.
Encouragingly for Pharaohs and Reds fans, the 31-year-old captain was able to walk off the pitch unaided — albeit in some discomfort — with the forward appearing to gesture towards his left hamstring as he received treatment.
Egypt coach Rui Vitória said after the teams’ 2-2 draw that the extent of the injury was unclear.
“I hope it’s not a big problem, but now, I don’t know, because it’s [too] early to see something,” Vitória said.
“I think it’s not dangerous, but let’s see. Let’s see if Salah recovers.”
Salah himself did not stop to speak to journalists in the mixed zone after the game, though he smiled and seemed able to walk without difficulty.
Moments after Salah was replaced, West Ham United’s Mohammed Kudus — himself making a return from injury — opened the scoring for Ghana with a magnificent left-footed effort from outside the box after carving himself some space.
Ghana remained bottom of Group B with just one point, level with Mozambique, while Egypt are second on two points behind group leaders Cape Verde. Cape Verde and Mozambique play their second game of the tournament on Friday. Only the top two in each group are assured of advancing.
The Black Stars started promisingly but found it hard to get through the Egyptians’ defensive lines as the Ghanaian fans let their impatience show.
But a cooling break restored the supporters’ good mood with many standing up to dance and cheer as the party restarted in the stands.
Kudus scored in first-half injury time – a minute after Salah left the field – when he received the ball from Salis Abdul Samed, eluded one defender, then another, before firing past Mohamed El-Shenawy in the Egypt goal from well outside the area.
Egypt kept pushing and Marmoush finally equalised in the 69th minute after capitalising on a botched backpass from Inaki Williams.
Kudus replied two minutes later with a shot that took a slight deflection off a defender to sneak inside the far post. But another defensive error from Osman Bukari, who had just replaced Williams, allowed Mohamed to equalise three minutes later.