We were prepared for all scenarios, says Egypt's Elneny after Morocco fightback

Egypt midfielder Mohamed Elneny said the team displayed their quality to reach the Africa Cup of Nations semis as they kept their composure to fight back and claim a nervy 2-1 win against Morocco on Sunday.

Ahram Online , Sunday 30 Jan 2022,
Morocco s midfielder Selim Amallah (L) fights for the ball with Egypt s midfielder Mohamed Elneny during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 quarter-final football match between Egypt and Morocco at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde on January 30, 2022. AFP

"We were happy with the victory but mostly with our performance today. It was a tough start of the game as we conceded a very early penalty. We showed a great response and were able to impose our rhythm and win the game," the Arsenal midfielder said after the game.

The Pharaohs fought back from a sixth-minute penalty from Sofiane Boufal to win the game in extra-time courtesy of goals from Mohamed Salah (in the 53rd minute) and Mahmoud "Trezeguet" Hassan in the first half of extra time.

"We are aware of our quality and potential. We were prepared for all scenarios before the game. We even discussed the possibility of conceding a goal early in the game and what should we do after.

"We have a special player in Mohamed Salah, who is the best on the planet," the 29-year old added.

Elneny also hailed his team's spirit and focus, which remained unwavering during a nervy North African derby that witnessed a few scuffles between the players.

"These games are very emotional especially with what's at stake. Everybody wants to win to reach the semi final but we were able to keep our concentration until the end the game," he concluded.

The record seven-time African champions will face hosts Cameroon in the semi-final on Thursday.

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

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