Mohamed Salah backed to finish World Cup as winner of the Golden Boot

Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah is fancied to cap off a remarkable season by winning the Golden Boot. (AFP)
Updated 14 June 2018
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Mohamed Salah backed to finish World Cup as winner of the Golden Boot

  • Egyptian beats Ronaldo and Messi in top-scorer poll
  • Hopes are high that an Arab nation could go deep into the tournament

Doubts over the fitness of Mohamed Salah has not dissuaded fans from believing the Egyptian superstar will finish the World Cup as the top-scorer.
The Liverpool forward is back in training after injuring his shoulder in the Champions League final at the end of last month, but Egyptian officials are keen not to rush him back and are being coy over his return date. He has an outside chance of facing Uruguay on Friday but a more realistic target is the games against Russia and Saudi Arabia, two matches against the lowest ranked sides in the competition when Salah could fill his goalscoring boots.
He had a hand in all seven of Egypt's goals in qualifying, scoring five and creating two — and football followers are expecting him to add to his international tally of 33 in 57 games.
He tops the table of who fans think will be the highest goal scorer at the tournament, with one in six (17 percent) fans across the 11 countries surveyed in a YouGov Omnibus/SMG Insight believing he will win the Golden Boot. His figures are boosted by significant support from home: 52 percent of Egyptian football followers say he will take the prize won by James Rodriguez in 2014. Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is in second place (15 percent) followed by Barcelona Lionel Messi in third (13 percent).
The Arab world is represented by four nations, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt — and there is huge optimism among football fans in the Middle East and North Africa that one of them could go all the way. One in five (21 percent) Moroccan fans with an opinion believe their side will win, despite sports data firm Gracenote giving them just a one per cent chance of lifting the World Cup. The Moroccans go into the tournament on the back of an 18-match unbeaten run. Likewise, 19 percent of Egyptians think their side will win and 14 percent of Saudi Arabians expect success (Gracenote put the odds for both teams lifting the trophy at 0%).
The most avid followers, according to the survey, can be found in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where 41 percent and 40 percent respectively of those with an interest in football say they intend to watch “all or most” of the matches.


Jose Mourinho plays down touchline melee after ‘awful’ Chelsea draw

Updated 20 October 2018
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Jose Mourinho plays down touchline melee after ‘awful’ Chelsea draw

  • Mourinho took exception to the celebrations of one of Chelsea’s backroom staff, Marco Ianni
  • Ross Barkley scored in the sixth minute of injury time to level the match at 2-2

LONDON: Jose Mourinho played down an ugly touchline melee after watching his Manchester United side concede a heartbreaking late equalizer as Chelsea preserved their unbeaten Premier League record on Saturday.
Ross Barkley scored in the sixth minute of injury time to level the match at 2-2 after Anthony Martial had scored twice in the second half to cancel out Antonio Rudiger’s opener.
Mourinho took exception to the celebrations of one of Chelsea’s backroom staff, Marco Ianni, who ran in front of the Portuguese on the touchline, as he seemed set for a sweet victory over his old club.
When asked about the incident, former Chelsea boss Mourinho said: “Oh come on, I can tell you that 97 minutes of the game was so good that you have to focus on that.
“I did not get respect back from Chelsea (fans) but that is not my responsibility. What I did here today I will do in Madrid, in Milan, in Porto, the reaction from the fans is not up to me.
“I am not annoyed with anything. What happened with (Maurizio) Sarri’s assistant, Sarri was the first one to come to me and say he will resolve it.
“The assistant has already come to me and apologized, I told him to forget it. I have made a lot of mistakes in my career.”
Mourinho, who won three Premier League titles in two spells at Chelsea, said United were the better side.
“We were the best team on the pitch. If you say before the game that one point at Stamford Bridge is a good result, it is so difficult to win here but after the game with the way the game was it is an awful result for us and a phenomenal result for them.
“We were in the game, we controlled their triggers, (Eden) Hazard and Jorginho was well controlled.
“After we were 2-1 up we had possibilities to score the third goal, we were the best team, we were calm in control.
“I hope every referee does the same as Mike Dean and gives six minutes, I don’t know where they came from. We always tried to play, there was no time-wasting.”
The result means Chelsea go top of the table, at least temporarily, but United are still languishing in eighth spot, seven points off the pace.
Chelsea goalscorer Barkley hailed his team’s never-say-die attitude.
“My confidence has grown but our target was to win the game so it is disappointing,” he said.
“The manager told me to help the team win the game and try and get a result. We conceded a goal that we should have stopped but we came back.”