Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah scored twice and missed two penalties as Egypt thrashed Niger 6-0 in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying on Saturday.
Salah had clashed with Egyptian football officials ahead of the qualifier in Alexandria for the 2019 finals over image-rights violations and personal security.
But, once on the pitch, the Liverpool forward was quickly in the thick of the action, winning a first-minute penalty which was saved by Niger goalkeeper Kassaly Daouda.
After Marwan Mohsen and Ayman Ashraf scored to give Egypt a 2-0 lead, Salah had another penalty saved, but this time scored from the rebound for a 3-0 half-time advantage.
Salah then created the fourth goal for rising star Salah Mohsen before netting the fifth himself. Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny completed the rout with a goal two minutes into stoppage time.
It was a wonderful start for former Mexico and Japan manager Javier Aguirre, who recently signed a four-year contract as boss of the record seven-time African champions.
He succeeded Argentine Hector Cuper, whose contract was not renewed after Egypt lost all three group matches, to Uruguay, hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia, at the 2018 World Cup.
Despite the huge victory margin, Egypt trail Tunisia in Group J on the head-to-head rule having lost 1-0 away to the north Africans in the first round 15 months ago.
Salah returns to action for Liverpool with a trip to Tottenham on Saturday, September 15, live on Sky Sports.