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VIDEO: Basel’s Pharaohs shine at White Hart Lane in Europa League quarter-final
FC Basel’s Pharaohs – Mohamed Salah and Mohamed El-Nenny – showed Europe what they are made of after a wonderful performance from both the 20-year-olds against in-form Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League quarter-final at the White Hart Lane.
Salah, who joined FC Basel on a permanent deal last April, started on the wide right just behind 6ft 5 striker Marco Streller. Whilst El-Nenny, who is on-loan from Arab Contractors SC, played in a central midfield role alongside Serey Die.
FC Basel started the brighter of the two sides dominating early possession, coming very close to scoring on many occasions. Mohamed Salah started dominating the right-wing and was too much to handle for the left back, Cameroon international Beniot Assou-Ekotto. His blistering pace cut open the Spurs defense and it was exactly that, which created FC Basel’s first goal in the 30th minute. The ball was played wide to Salah who out-paced Assou-Ekotto and ran into the box and placed a low cross into the centre of the box. Streller managed to turn with the ball and shoot hitting the crossbar but Valentin Stocker was able to finish from the rebound.
The first goal motivated Basel as they continued to push forward and dominate Spurs. Four minutes later Fabian Frei headed Vertonghen’s headed clearance into the back of the net after a corner from Stocker.
Tottenham were stunned but managed to get a goal back five minutes later in the 39th minute after Adebayor volleyed in from close range. Just before the whistle was blown for the first half, Scott Parker missed a glorious chance to equalise after his shot went wide of Basel’s empty net from four yards out.
Spurs continued where they left off in the second-half and equalised in the 57th minute after a Gylfi Sigurdsson shot from outside the box was deflected over Basel keeper Yann Sommer.
Mohamed Salah provided great speed and skill going forward for FC Basel and came very close to scoring multiple times. In the 59th minute he managed to wriggle past Tottenham centre back Jan Vertonghen and used his pace to force a one-on-one situation with veteran USA keeper Brad Friedel; however, his shot like many tonight was off target.
Salah managed to get a hold of the ball more and continued to show-off his skills in the second-half. He nutmegged Micheal Dawson inside the Spurs penalty box at one point, before being tackled by Vertonghen. Near the end of the match, Salah dueled in the corner with Gareth Bale – who moved into left-back after Gallas came off injured – and put his dribbling skills on showcase to Bale’s frustration.
El-Nenny played well in defensive midfield – although, he was partially to blame for the Spurs’ opener for leaving Parker unmarked. El-Nenny held up the ball impressively, made a few crucial challenges and managed to make decent passes across the pitch throughout the game. Late in the second-half he had a chance to score after great play from Basel but his shot went well over the bar.
Salah was substituted off for David Degen in the 84th minute whilst Egytian team-mate El-Nenny played the whole 90 minutes.
The return leg of this fixture is played on Thursday 11th April in Basel.
Ahmad Yousef: Follow @EgyptianPlayers