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VIDEO: Salah scores brace as Basel close in on Champions League group stage
FC Basel continued their quest to reach the group stage of the Champions League with a 4-2 win at Bulgarian champions PFC Ludogorets Razgrad with Mohamed Salah putting in a man of the match performance after scoring a brace.
Mohamed Salah and El-Nenny started the Champions League play-off round first-leg clash in Bulgaria on the right wing and in central defensive midfield respectively as Basel began the game full of energy while holding the ball well. They threatened the Ludogorets defence and after only 12 minutes the deadlock was broken when Salah managed to control a lobbed ball and half volley home from a tight angle.
FC Basel dominated the first-half and played fluid attacking football with a high line, which allowed opportunities to counter attack which the Bulgarian champion exploited when they equalised in the 23rd minute with Marcelinho chipping goalkeeper Yann Sommer.
The second-half started the total opposite of the first with Ludogorets looking the stronger of the two sides. They managed to take the lead in the 50th minute as Ivan Stoynov fired home. The goal was a wake up call for Basel who bounced back strongly.
Salah found the net for the second time in the 59th minute, finishing in similar style: From a tight angle following a nice run.
The 21-year-old Egyptian winger refused to celebrate either of his goals out of respect, due to the turmoil in Egypt.
Four minutes later FC Basel took the lead when new signing Giovanni Sio managed to find space between the Ludogorets defence before the Ivory Coast forward slotted home.
Salah came close to completing his hat-trick after latching onto a through ball, but his flick on was parried for a corner in the 79th minute.
Three minutes later Basel managed to counter attack after a Ludogorets corner. El-Nenny picked up the ball and made a inch perfect 40-yard through ball which found Mohamed Salah who managed to dribble around the defender before being tackled from behind in the box, leading to a penalty and a red card. Schar stepped up and scored Basel’s fourth goal from the spot to put the game to bed.
El-Nenny had another solid game in Basel’s midfield and played excellently for the full 90 minutes. He made 30 passes with 81% accuracy and had two shots on goal, both going just wide.
Salah has now scored three goals in the past two champions league games for FC Basel after scoring in last week’s 3-3 draw with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel.
FC Basel go into the second-leg, will be played in Basel next week, with a two goal advantage and four away goals.
Follow @EgyptianPlayers – Ahmad Yousef