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Danny Murphy Thinks Mo Salah's 'Ego' Hampered Egypt's AFCON Hopes

Danny Murphy Thinks Mo Salah's 'Ego' Hampered Egypt's AFCON Hopes
By Jonathan Byrne

There were jubilant scenes for Senegal as they won their very first African Cup of Nations on Sunday.

While the West African side were deserved winners in the end, it could have been a crowning moment for Egypt too in winning an eighth AFCON trophy.

Egypt have won the most tournaments in the competition's history. Many thought they could go all the way being steered by star player Mohamed Salah.

But it wasn't meant to be as a lackluster display culminated in a disappointing penalty shootout. Egypt's star player never got to take his spot-kick.

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Speaking on the final on Sunday, former Liverpool man Danny Murphy had some choice words for Salah and Egypt's approach to the penalty shootout.

"I think ego takes over when you want to take the fifth," Murphy said on talkSPORT. "I don’t think you should ever take the fifth. I remember what Carra is talking about when Ronaldo missed out."

Jamie Carragher was referring to Cristiano Ronaldo at Euro 2012. Portugal faced Spain in the semi-final, and Ronaldo never took a penalty in their 4-2 shootout loss as he was fifth in the running order.

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The African Cup of Nations final ended in similar circumstances, with Mo Salah never getting to take his fifth. Teammates Zizo and Marwan Hamdy missed from the spot.

In fact, AFCON was a tournament full of penalties. Six of the sixteen games from the Round of 16 onwards were decided on spot-kicks, including the third-place playoff.

That number is in comparison to four shootouts at Euro 2020 last summer. As far as major tournaments are concerned, penalties are becoming more and more important.

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Murphy continued. "I’ve heard people .. 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."

"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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See Also: Watch: Senegal Rivals Italia 90 For Incredible Homecoming Scenes

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