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Pharaohs galore in Switzerland as Salah, El-Nenny and Kahraba play in draw
There were Egyptians everywhere as Mohamed Salah and Mohamed El-Nenny both featured for FC Basel whilst Mahmoud Abdel-Moneim “Kahraba” made his debut in the 1-1 stalemate played out tonight at the Swissporarena in Lucerne.
In a big game, Mohamed Salah received the nod to start, despite indications from head coach Murat Yakin that Salah could possibly be rested after his mid-week virtuoso performance in the Champions League qualifiers. El-Nenny, a starter in the mid-week game as well was rested, starting from the bench. Appearing on the other bench was Kahraba, who signed for Luzern last week from ENPPI, the latest in a new trend of Egyptian players playing in Switzerland. The match started off in a frantic fashion, with both chances carving out decent chances to score within the first 10 minutes. FC Basel however, were lucky to have not been reduced to 10 men within the first 30 minutes of the game, with Xhaka getting away with a horrible challenge in the 22nd minute with only a yellow card.
Luzern, arguably the better of the two sides in the first half, then conceded a goal which the defence would want to forget as soon as possible, with a mix up being latched on to by Giovanni Sio, who nutmegged a defender with a swift sidestep and delightfully chipped the on coming keeper in the 30th minute to make it 1-0 to Basel. The first half ended off in the same fashion, with Basel heading into the tunnels 1-0 up, lucky not to be a couple of goals down after Luzerne showed some poor finishing from defensive errors and a few Sommer saves.
Following the restart, Luzerna came out with all guns blazing. Bozanic nearly had a goal for the hosts when his free kick just missed in the 49th minute. A couple of minutes later, Sommer pulled off an incredible save, not for the first/last time in the match, to deny Luzerne a goal from point blank range. In the 58th minute, El-Nenny came off the bench to replace Delgado. Pulling the strings in the middle of the park, El-Nenny played some neat balls, setting up a few chances, with the unorganised Basel frontline failing to capitalise on the space and time afforded to them. Kahraba then entered the fray, coming on as a 72nd minute substitute to make his debut, managing to get a decent shot on target two minutes later, which was saved by Sommer.
Following a missed shot from distance by El-Nenny in the 78th minute, Basel nearly had a sealer, with Schärs making a brilliant run from inside his own half to go one on one with the Luzern keeper, who pulled off a fine save. The resulting clearance meant the end of Salah’s day, being replaced by Marcelo Diaz in the 82nd minute. 1-0 up, Basel should have put away their chances, with some glorious ones passing from swift counter attacks in the final 10 minutes. They paid the ultimate price three minutes into stoppage time, with the brilliant Sommer, who made a number of amazing saves, not able to keep out a tap in in the third minute of stoppage time. The match ended 1-1, with Luzern now sitting in 2nd spot on the ladder, 4 points behind leaders Young Boys, whilst Basel are sitting in 4th, two points behind Kahraba’s side.
Luzerns next match takes place next Sunday, with an away trip to St. Gallen with more minutes for Kahraba definitely in sight. Salah and El-Nenny should feature as well, with a big match against current undefeated league leaders Young Boys away from home the following day.
Video to follow..
Photo by Mohaned Ghanem