'This Trophy Would be Closest to My Heart': Mo Salah Targets AFCON's Glory as Egypt Reaches Quarters

© REUTERS / MOHAMED ABD EL GHANYJanuary 26, 2022 Egypt's Mohamed Salah celebrates with Ahmed Hegazi after winning the penalty shootout
January 26, 2022 Egypt's Mohamed Salah celebrates with Ahmed Hegazi after winning the penalty shootout  - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.01.2022
Like Lionel Messi, who had no international trophy to show on his resume before ending his long wait by winning the Copa America Cup with Argentina last year, Mohamed Salah hasn't lifted a trophy with his national team despite making his debut for Egypt in 2011. However, the Liverpool superstar is on track to end the drought soon.
Egypt skipper Mohamed Salah has claimed that he's determined to win the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations for his country as capturing the trophy would fulfil his long-cherished dream.
Once again, the 29-year-old footballer was in the thick of things in their Round of 16 encounter against Ivory Coast as his nerveless penalty sealed Egypt's spot in the quarter-finals of the competition on Wednesday night.
After both sides failed to break the deadlock in regular time followed by a similar lull in extra time, the match moved to a penalty shoot-out.
Even there, both teams were evenly matched.
But the Elephants' dream of progressing through to the last 8 was broken by their own defender Eric Bailly, as his casual approach to the crucial penalty cost Ivory Coast dearly, with Egypt's substitute goalkeeper Mohamed Abo Gabal making the all-important save at 4-4.
Salah, on the other hand, showed nerves of steel and felt no jitters whatsoever as he delivered the decisive spot-kick to secure Egypt's victory on penalties.
And Salah, who has tasted immense success with Liverpool, leading them to Premier League and Champions League titles since joining the club in 2017, has now set his eyes on international glory.

"Of course I want to win something with the national team. It's my country, what I love the most. This trophy for me would be completely different, would be the closest to my heart," Salah said after the Pharaohs' triumph.

"We were close before to win this African Cup (in 2017), we gave it everything but we were not lucky to win it. But it's ok, now we are here in the new one. We have to fight for it, we have to give everything to win it and I'm sure the players have the same feeling," he concluded.
Egypt will square-off against Morocco for a place in semifinals of the tournament on Sunday.
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