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Friday, 30 July 2021

Egyptians' clash in Sporting-Chelsea showdown will not happen

Salah makes Chelsea's squad for the away Champions League clash at Sporting Lisbon, whose Egyptians cannot feature in the tie

Ahram Online, Tuesday 30 Sep 2014
Chelsea's Mohamed Salah turns as he celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League soccer match between Chelsea and Stoke City at Stamford Bridge stadium in London, Saturday, April, 5, 2014 (Photo: AP)

Although Chesea's roster includes one Egyptian, and Sporting Lisbon includes two, it looks like UEFA CHampions League match between the two will only include Salah, dashing Egyptians hopes for a clash between Egypt's international players.

Sporting, who host the Group G fixture at the Estadio Jose Alvalade, have Egyptians Shikabala and Rami Rabia in their roster. Shikabala however, was omitted from the Champions League fold before the start of the continental campaign.

Rabia, on the other hand, has been registered in Sporting's Champions League squad – but has yet to play for his club since arriving from Ahly because of a pelvic problem picked up shortly after joining the team.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah has been named in Chelsea's squad for the Lisbon game after missing out on the Blues' opening 1-1 home draw with Schalke a fortnight ago.

Salah is another foreign-based Egyptian struggling for first-team football since the start of the season, featuring in only one Premier League match – an eight-minute substitute appearance against Swansea City – so far.

He broke into the team's starting line-up only once, playing 80 minutes in a 2-1 Capital One Cup victory over Bolton Wanderers last week.

Salah's fine cup performance prompted speculation that Mourinho would be keener to keep him on board after reports had linked the Egyptian with moves away from London in January.

But the 22-year-old came back to sit out Chelsea's 3-0 home win over Aston villa, again casting his future at Stamford Bridge into doubt.      

As a result, his inclusion in the team's starting 11 for the Sporting meeting is unlikely to see him feature in the game as Chelsea faces a tricky test against an opponent who also have yet to secure their first three points of the campaign.

Having drawn with Slovenia's Malibor 1-1 in their Group G opener away from home, Sporting are expected to give Mourinho's men a tough time at their 50,000-seater stadium.

Moreover, Sporting's home venue have not witnessed them lose in their last 16 European games, further undermining Salah's playing chances in a match Mourinho would normally prefer to go on with his tried and tested.

Chelsea and Sporting are widely tipped to make it through Group G, which also includes Maribor and Bundesliga side Schalke – who currently top the table after one match.

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