Javier Aguirre calls for Egypt to go up a level after Mohamed Salah super show

It was a winning start for new Egypt boss Javier Aguirre. (AFP)
Updated 10 September 2018

Javier Aguirre calls for Egypt to go up a level after Mohamed Salah super show

  • The Pharaohs excel on new coach's debut in Alexandria.
  • Salah scores two and sets up two to take international goal tally to 39.

LONODN: Egypt coach Javier Aguirre hailed his side after a 6-0 thrashing of Niger got qualification for next year’s African Cup of Nations back on track, but the new boss warned Mohamed Salah and Co. that he expects better in future matches.
Salah put his uneasy relationship with the Egyptian Football Association to one side as he scored two, made two and missed two penalties in Alexandria as the Pharaohs moved on from their sorry showing at this summer’s World Cup.
The result was even more important after they had lost the opening game in Group J of qualification against Tunisia last year, but Aguirre, the former coach of Mexico, Japan and Atletico Madrid, was not completely satisfied.
“The players did not carry out all the instructions given,” Aguirre, appointed in August to succeed Hector Cuper who presided over the dismal World Cup campaign, said after the game.
“I am satisfied with the training camp that we had and this was a factor in what was a big win but we should not get carried away as we may not be able to beat other opponents with such a big scoreline.”
There was much to appreciate however as the 59 year-old Mexican pointed out.
“The players combined well because they have a good relationship with each other. We’ve only been training for four days, we’ll be better after four years,” he added.
Despite Salah’s fine performance, when the Liverpool star became the third-highest goalscorer for Egypt with 39 goals to his name, Aguirre pinpointed Aly Ghazal, the Canada-based defender earning a recall to the national team for the first time in four years, as the star of the six-goal show. Ghazal marshaled the backline in impressive fashion with Baher El-Mohamadi and Salah Mohsen enjoying fine debuts.
“Ghazal was the best player and was impressive but overall, it is a good start but we still have a lot of work to do,”Aguirre said.
The one piece of bad news for the hosts was that of West Bromwich Albion defender Ahmed Hegazi will miss the next qualifier against Swaziland in October through suspension.
Overall however, fans were delighted with the big win. Cuper was criticized for overly-defensive tactics during his time in the Egypt hotseat and Aguirre was appointed partly because of his reputation for more progressive, attacking football. Egypt were a relentless attacking force throughout the match and would not have been flattered with a much more convincing scoreline.
Niger coach Francois Zahoui explained that a combination of individual mistakes and the skills of Salah put the game beyond his team.
“We made too many errors in the opening period and we were then always chasing the game,” Zahoui, who admitted that he had voted for the Liverpool striker to win Best FIFA Men’s Player Award, said. “He was a real danger tonight and he never gave our defenders a second to settle.”
Elsewhere, Morocco also bounced back from an early exit from the World Cup and an opening defeat in African qualification to beat Malawi 3-0 in Casablanca to move into second in Group B behind Cameroon.
Hakim Ziyach opened the scoring after just three minutes and Youssef En-Nesyri grabbed the other two.
“We need to keep getting good results,” Morocco coach Herve Renard said. “Consistency is the most important aspect. We have a good team and a strong foundation and we just need to incorporate a few younger players over time. We have been moving forward over the past two and a half years and need to continue in the same direction.”
Algeria stayed on top of Group D despite being held to a 1-1 draw in Gambia. Baghdad Bounedjah gave the Fennecs the lead just after the break only for Assan Ceesay to level the game within two minutes to earn a point for Gambia.


Kimmich: Bayern need to stay ‘hungry’ for Champions League bid

Updated 47 min 2 sec ago

Kimmich: Bayern need to stay ‘hungry’ for Champions League bid

  • Under head coach Flick, Bayern have won all 11 games since the season resumed in mid-May

BERLIN: Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich says the double-winning German champions must stay “fully focused and greedy” for more silverware during their two-week holiday before launching their assault on the Champions League.

“Now it’s time to recharge our batteries and then tackle the Champions League with full focus and greed,” the 25-year-old told magazine Sport Bild.

Head coach Hans-Dieter Flick sent Bayern on a two-week holiday after winning the German Cup last Saturday before fine-tuning their preparations for the Champions League.

After completing the double with a 4-2 cup final win over Leverkusen, Bundesliga champions Bayern are on a 17-match winning streak dating back to February.

Under Flick, Bayern have won all 11 games since the season resumed in Germany in mid-May amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Bayern are chasing a treble and are among the favorites in Europe after routing Chelsea 3-0 in London in the last 16, first leg, last February before the Champions League halted due to COVID-19.

Bayern still need to finish the tie to reach the quarterfinals and the draw for the remaining rounds in the knockout stages takes place this Friday. Kimmich called on his teammates to keep training during their break to maintain the “hunger” for the Champions League finals in Lisbon next month.

“It will be decisive how we return from vacation: We want to keep that feeling, that hunger,” Kimmich added.

Having stumbled last November, when Flick succeeded Niko Kovac who was sacked following a 5-1 thrashing by Frankfurt, Bayern are now in great form.

Robert Lewandowski has scored 51 goals this season, including 34 in the Bundesliga and is the Champions League’s top-scorer with 11.

Behind the Poland striker, Thomas Mueller has 25 assists, including a record 21 in the Bundesliga.

Kimmich has bossed the defensive midfield alongside Germany teammate Leon Goretzka and suggests Bayern have developed a mental edge.

“In the last two seasons, mentality has been the most important factor in winning the German league title,” said Kimmich.

“FC Bayern may be ahead of other teams in this respect.”