Javier Aguirre calls for Egypt to go up a level after Mohamed Salah super show

It was a winning start for new Egypt boss Javier Aguirre. (AFP)
Updated 10 September 2018
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Javier Aguirre calls for Egypt to go up a level after Mohamed Salah super show

  • The Pharaohs excel on new coach's debut in Alexandria.
  • Salah scores two and sets up two to take international goal tally to 39.

LONODN: Egypt coach Javier Aguirre hailed his side after a 6-0 thrashing of Niger got qualification for next year’s African Cup of Nations back on track, but the new boss warned Mohamed Salah and Co. that he expects better in future matches.
Salah put his uneasy relationship with the Egyptian Football Association to one side as he scored two, made two and missed two penalties in Alexandria as the Pharaohs moved on from their sorry showing at this summer’s World Cup.
The result was even more important after they had lost the opening game in Group J of qualification against Tunisia last year, but Aguirre, the former coach of Mexico, Japan and Atletico Madrid, was not completely satisfied.
“The players did not carry out all the instructions given,” Aguirre, appointed in August to succeed Hector Cuper who presided over the dismal World Cup campaign, said after the game.
“I am satisfied with the training camp that we had and this was a factor in what was a big win but we should not get carried away as we may not be able to beat other opponents with such a big scoreline.”
There was much to appreciate however as the 59 year-old Mexican pointed out.
“The players combined well because they have a good relationship with each other. We’ve only been training for four days, we’ll be better after four years,” he added.
Despite Salah’s fine performance, when the Liverpool star became the third-highest goalscorer for Egypt with 39 goals to his name, Aguirre pinpointed Aly Ghazal, the Canada-based defender earning a recall to the national team for the first time in four years, as the star of the six-goal show. Ghazal marshaled the backline in impressive fashion with Baher El-Mohamadi and Salah Mohsen enjoying fine debuts.
“Ghazal was the best player and was impressive but overall, it is a good start but we still have a lot of work to do,”Aguirre said.
The one piece of bad news for the hosts was that of West Bromwich Albion defender Ahmed Hegazi will miss the next qualifier against Swaziland in October through suspension.
Overall however, fans were delighted with the big win. Cuper was criticized for overly-defensive tactics during his time in the Egypt hotseat and Aguirre was appointed partly because of his reputation for more progressive, attacking football. Egypt were a relentless attacking force throughout the match and would not have been flattered with a much more convincing scoreline.
Niger coach Francois Zahoui explained that a combination of individual mistakes and the skills of Salah put the game beyond his team.
“We made too many errors in the opening period and we were then always chasing the game,” Zahoui, who admitted that he had voted for the Liverpool striker to win Best FIFA Men’s Player Award, said. “He was a real danger tonight and he never gave our defenders a second to settle.”
Elsewhere, Morocco also bounced back from an early exit from the World Cup and an opening defeat in African qualification to beat Malawi 3-0 in Casablanca to move into second in Group B behind Cameroon.
Hakim Ziyach opened the scoring after just three minutes and Youssef En-Nesyri grabbed the other two.
“We need to keep getting good results,” Morocco coach Herve Renard said. “Consistency is the most important aspect. We have a good team and a strong foundation and we just need to incorporate a few younger players over time. We have been moving forward over the past two and a half years and need to continue in the same direction.”
Algeria stayed on top of Group D despite being held to a 1-1 draw in Gambia. Baghdad Bounedjah gave the Fennecs the lead just after the break only for Assan Ceesay to level the game within two minutes to earn a point for Gambia.


Danny Willett wins in Dubai, Francesco Molinari crowned king of European Tour

Updated 9 min 32 sec ago
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Danny Willett wins in Dubai, Francesco Molinari crowned king of European Tour

DUBAI: Danny Willett ended his title drought in thrilling fashion, winning the DP World Tour Championship by two shots despite a last-hole blunder on Sunday.
It was the 31-year-old Englishman’s first victory since the 2016 Masters, secured with a final-round 4-under-par 68 for an 18-under total of 270.
Francesco Molinari finished in joint 26th place to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
Willett held a two-shot lead on the 18th tee after making a birdie on the 17th, but pushed his tee shot slightly into the bank of a creek that divides the 18th fairway, and then hit a brave second shot from the rocks before making par.
England’s Matt Wallace (68) and American Patrick Reed (70) were joint runners-up at 16-under 272.
A poor second shot from Reed on the first had handed Willett the lead and when the 31-year-old holed a brilliant 45-foot double-breaker for eagle on the par-five second, he was three ahead.
Wallace also birdied the second but gave the shot straight back with a three-putt on the third before making a gain from five feet at the fifth.
Willett then took advantage of the par-five seventh to turn at 17-under, five shots clear of Reed — who had also bogeyed the eighth — and three ahead of Wallace, who made a gain on the ninth after chipping in for par on the eighth.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” said an emotional Willett. “It’s been tough. I’m just massively proud of myself and everyone that’s been around me.
“You never quite know when a win is around the corner and with all the things that have happened, I was never quite sure if it was going to happen again.
“To happen here at the end of year, we’ve battled long and hard through this season to come out at
the end, regardless of what happened today, a better person and a better athlete. It’s a special place. It’s just nice to be back.
“I’ve started pretty slowly on the first four or five holes all week — but I got off to a quick one today. For that to happen on a Sunday in the position I was in, I knew I was in a good place.”
Molinari, winner of the Open Championship and the BMW PGA Championship this year, secured the season-ending title when his closest rival Tommy Fleetwood failed to win the tournament.
“It’s more than I ever dreamed of achieving,” said 36-year-old Molinari.
“I’m really struggling for words.
“I’ve seen guys that I think are better players than me not winning majors and not winning Order of Merits or Race to Dubai. To achieve those things in one single season is just incredible.”
Meanwhile, Fleetwood was in a philosophical mood.
“It’s just golf, but it does hurt when you have days like that,” he said of his Saturday round.
“I feel the adrenaline might have gone. You kind of know when your time’s up. I lasted within two days of the season and it was always a stretch trying to win it.”