Mohamed Salah can be ‘as good as Messi and Ronaldo’, says Egypt team-mate

Updated 31 January 2018
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Mohamed Salah can be ‘as good as Messi and Ronaldo’, says Egypt team-mate

LONDON: Mohamed Salah will cement his place alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the world’s elite players this summer, Egypt team-mate Omar Gaber believes.
African Footballer of the Year Salah’s form for club and country in 2017 drew comparisons between Messi and Ronaldo after the forward became an instant hit for Liverpool in the Premier League and was integral to Egypt reaching their first World Cup since 1990.
The Pharaohs’ hopes of emerging from a group stage featuring Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and hosts Russia in the summer will rest largely on Salah’s shoulders after the 25-year-old netted five goals in six games during the decisive qualifying round.
But Gaber -— bidding to earn a place alongside Salah in Egypt’s World Cup squad — is confident that the Liverpool man will handle that responsibility and shine on the biggest stage.
Gaber said: “There’s no doubt for me that he’s one of the best three players in the world alongside Messi and Ronaldo, and he will show that in the summer.
“He had a lot of pressure on him that he had to take his country to the World Cup, but he did it. He really helped the national team to achieve this qualification.”
Gaber knows Salah well after they were both part of the same Egyptian team to play in the 2011 Under-20s World Cup.
And despite ex-Chelsea man Salah enjoying such a successful return to the Premier League after his £39 million ($55 million) summer move from Roma, Gaber insists it has not changed his character.
“He’s such a great, genuine guy and still so humble, despite all the goals he’s scored,” added the midfielder.


Leonard scores 35, Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 for 3-2 lead

Updated 24 May 2019
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Leonard scores 35, Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 for 3-2 lead

  • Leonard hit the 30-point mark for the fourth time in the series

MILWAUKEE: Kawhi Leonard scored 35 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 105-99 on Thursday night to take a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.
Leonard showed no obvious signs of the leg soreness that bothered him in Toronto’s victories in the previous two games, hitting the 30-point mark for the fourth time in the series. He made five 3-pointers and had seven rebounds and nine assists.
Fred VanVleet scored 21 points, hitting seven 3s. Kyle Lowry added 17 as the Raptors put themselves in position to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time. A victory at home Saturday would set up a matchup with two-time defending champion Golden State.
“This was a super-hard win tonight,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said.
The Raptors battled out of an early 14-point hole, then got 15 points from Leonard in the fourth quarter to send the top-seeded Bucks to their first three-game losing streak of the season.
“We weathered the storm early,” Leonard said.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points for Milwaukee hours after being announced as a unanimous first-team, All-NBA selection. Eric Bledsoe scored 20 and Malcolm Brogdon added 18 points and 11 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup.
“It’s first to four. We’ve got to go to Toronto, get a game. I think the group will be ready,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said.
The Raptors were clinging to a two-point lead in the closing minute after Khris Middleton drove around Leonard on the baseline for a layup.
Toronto was initially called for a shot-clock violation when Leonard missed a fadeaway jumper with 35 seconds left. That got overturned by a replay review, and Brook Lopez was called for a foul, instead, for bumping Marc Gasol after he retrieved the loose ball.
Gasol hit both free throws to make it 100-97. Another replay review went in Toronto’s favor when officials determined a ball went out of bounds off Brogdon with 26.8 seconds left. Brogdon pulled his hand away, thinking his dribble had gone off Pascal Siakam’s foot.
Siakam then drove for a dunk, making it 102-97, and the Raptors hung on from there.
Milwaukee was leading 81-79 with about 8 1/2 minutes left when Leonard nailed back-to-back 3-pointers. He hit two free throws before Siakam threw down a put-back dunk to make it 89-81.
The Bucks tied it at 93-all with 2:44 left on a 3-pointer by Lopez. VanVleet answered with one of his own before Antetokounmpo threw down an alley-oop dunk to cut it to 96-95 with just over two minutes remaining.
The Bucks set a fast pace early on and led by 10 after the first quarter, delighting the towel-waving fans chanting “Fear The Deer! Fear the Deer!” They withstood a 16-2 run by Toronto to start the second, with Antetokounmpo nailing a 3 to stop it.
The Bucks also went on a 14-2 run early in the third, with the Greek Freak throwing down a hard dunk off a feed by Middleton for a 63-51 lead. But the Raptors got right back into it.

Tip-ins

Raptors: Lowry now has 1,126 points in 66 playoff games for Toronto, surpassing DeMar DeRozan (1,117) as the franchise’s postseason scoring leader.
Bucks: Brogdon started all 64 games he played in during the regular season, before missing basically all of the first two rounds because of a heel injury. With Brogdon back in the lineup, Nikola Mirotic came off the bench.

Up next

Game 6 is at Toronto on Saturday.