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Egyptian players abroad 2015-16 season review: Salah, Elneny among Europe's best

Ahram Online provides a review of foreign-based Egyptians' 2015-16 campaigns

Omar Zaazou , Tuesday 17 May 2016
Egyptian players abroad
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Mohamed Salah

Roma
Roma's Mohammed Salah celebrates after scoring during a Serie A soccer match between Roma and Bologna, in Rome's Olympic stadium, Monday, April 11, 2016 (AP)

The Egypt star enjoyed a fruitful season by all means at Italian giants Roma, where he joined on a three-year deal from then-English Premier League champions Chelsea in the close season.

Kicking off his Roma tenure with a goal in a 6-4 pre-season win over Sevilla, it took Salah only three league games to open his Serie A account with his new club.

A goal at Sassuolo was soon followed by another two against Sampdoria and Carpi, before finishing the league campaign with 14 goals to his name – lying sixth in the scoring charts.

His most memorable goals, however, came against former club Fiorentina - whom he tormented with three fine strikes in his side's 2-1 and 4-1 league victories over the Florence-based club.

The 23-year-old also stamped his mark in the Champions League, where he featured for a full 90 minutes in two last-16 legs against Real Madrid, with a goal against Bayer Leverkusen.

Capitalising on his sheer pace, Salah has always proved a big threat with his characteristic runs in behind towards goal, as well as his drift-ins from the right flank. 

 

Serie A: appearances: 34, goals: 14, assists: 8

UEFA Champions League: appearances: 7, goals: 1, assists: 1     

 

Mohamed Elneny

Elneny
Arsenal's French striker Olivier Giroud (C) celebrates with Arsenal's English defender Calum Chambers (L) and Arsenal's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Elneny after scoring the opening goal of the English FA cup fifth round replay football match between Hull City and Arsenal at the KC Stadium in Kingston upon Hull in north east England on March 8, 2016 (AFP)

The ex-Arab Contractors midfielder's move to Arsenal in the winter break has been the major highlight of his 2015-16 campaign, but his figures ahead and after his Premier League move were no less impressive.

A key member in Swiss side Basel's midfield, Elneny managed to score in the Super League, Swiss Cup and Europa League – registering two goals in each competition.

It didn't take him long to feature for Arsenal since his January move, making his bow in a 2-1 FA Cup win over Burnley.

Premier League appearances soon followed, having made his league debut in a 3-2 defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford before going on to start in nine consecutive games en route to Arsenal's top-two finish.

Having scored no more than a single goal in an Arsenal shirt so far, the 23-year-old will not be quite upset with the statistic – with his strike coming against Barcelona at the Camp Nou in the Champions League.

That particular game has seen Elneny register the most distance covered with a total of 12.85 km, two kilometres more than Barcelona full-back Jordi Alba who came second.

But it wasn't the only feat for the Egyptian though, having also recorded the most accurate passes in an English Premier League game – completing a total of 122 passes in a 4-0 victory over Watford at the Emirates last month. 

English Premier League: appearances: 11, goals: 0 assists: 1

 

UEFA Champions League: appearances: 1, goals: 1

Swiss Super League: appearances: 16, goals: 2, assists: 0

Swiss Cup: appearances: 3, goals: 2, assists: 1

Europa League:  appearances: 5, goals: 2, assists: 0

 

Ahmed Hassan 'Kouka'

Ahmed Hassan
Rio Ave and Egypt forward Ahmed Hassan 'Koka' (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Another foreign-based Egyptian to enjoy a fine campaign in Europe was Egypt striker Ahmed Hassan 'Kouka', who played a crucial role in helping Sporting Braga finish in fourth place since joining in the summer of 2015.

Eleven goals in 24 league games are deemed a success by all measures, but the 23-year-old also managed to take his goal tally to European competitions.

Three Europa League goals, including a brilliant lob against Marseille and a sliding effort against Turkey's Fenerbahce, helped Braga reach the quarter-finals before being eventually ousted by Shakhtar Donetsk.

Portuguese League: appearances: 22, goals: 11, assists: 4

Europa League: appearances: 11, goals: 3, assists: 1

  

Mahmoud Hassan 'Trezeguet'

Mahmoud Hassan
Anderlecht midfielder Mahmoud Trezeguet (Photo: the player's official Twitter account)

Unlike his fellows in Europe, Mahmoud Hassan 'Trezeguet' did not have the best of seasons with Belgian giants Anderlecht – whom he joined on a season-long loan from Ahly.

Struggling to break into the squad early in the campaign, the 21-year-old was hit with a nagging shoulder injury, a setback that hampered his playing prospects after appearing twice on the bench.

His Anderlecht stint was not totally ruined though, having featured in four league games after recuperating from injury, albeit without completing a single match.

However, the Belgian giants see in him as having good potential and are reportedly ready to cash 2.3 million euros to make his stay permanent.

Jupiler Pro League: appearances: 4, goals: 0 assists: 1

Europa League:  appearances: 1, goals: 0 assists: 1

 

Ali Ghazal

Ali Ghazal
Ali Ghazal (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Despite failing to play convincingly with the national side, Ali Ghazal's status on the club level was quite the opposite, featuring regularly in Nacional's defense this season.

He eventually helped his side finish 11th in the 18-team Portuguese league table, nine points clear of the relegation zone.

The ex-Wadi Degla center-back, who is tied down to the club until 2017, also managed an assist in Nacional's domestic cup campaign.  

Portuguese League:  appearances: 27, goals: 0 assists: 0

Portuguese Cup "Taça de Portugal Placard": appearances: 4, assists: 1

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

 

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