Egypt’s World Cup hopes were dashed with a loss to Senegal in Tuesday’s CAF (Confederation of African Football) qualifying. Mohamed Salah, the Premier League’s leading scorer this season with 20 goals, sealed Egypt’s fate with a costly miss, sailing his penalty kick well over the goal frame, much to the delight of fans at Dimniado Olympic Stadium in Dakar. Understandably distracted by the green lasers being pointed at him, the Liverpool forward never stood a chance.
Footage of Salah, lit up in green, quickly made the rounds on social media with many crying foul, flabbergasted nothing was done to prevent fans from pointing lasers at Egypt’s best player.
Henry Bushnell of Yahoo Sports notes that while lasers are not permitted at games (you might recall a Lions fan was banned from Ford Field for using a laser pointer to distract Bills players during a game in 2014), it's relatively easy to sneak them past stadium security, which was obviously the case here.
Hostile fans come with the territory in international soccer, where just about anything goes. Still, it’s a shame one of the most exciting talents in the world won’t be making the trip to Qatar this winter, in large part because fans were allowed—if not openly encouraged—to distract players by any means necessary.
Egypt failed to make it out of the group stage at the 2018 World Cup, bowing out after losses to Uruguay, Saudi Arabia and Russia. The Egyptians were outscored 6-2 in that span with Salah accounting for both goals.
Missing out on the World Cup is a pain Americans are all too familiar with, though, barring a complete collapse in their next game Wednesday at Costa Rica, USMNT should be headed back to soccer’s biggest stage for the first time since 2014.
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