Egypt football duo Salah, El-Neny visit Al-Aqsa Mosque

Ahmed Abd El Rasoul , Wednesday 7 Aug 2013

Pharaohs duo was eager to visit third holiest site in Islam after team triumph in Tel Aviv

Egypt's Salah and El-Neny

Egypt and FC Basel duo Mohamed Salah and Mohamed El-Neny visited Al-Aqsa Mosque after Tuesday's 3-3 draw against Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Despite the political complications between Egypt and Israel, the Pharaohs duo was obliged to represent Basel against Maccabi Tel Aviv in the second leg of the third qualifying round of the European Champions League.

"It was a nice thing. We were very happy to be there," El-Neny said on Twitter, posting photos from a visit to the mosque which, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is considered the third holiest site in Islam.

Basel advanced to the play-offs with a 4-3 aggregate victory, having beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 at home last week.

After scoring Basel's second goal on Tuesday, Salah prostrated to God in thanks and celebrated by running through the pitch amid jeers by Israeli fans in the stands.

Salah was replaced in the 75th minute by compatriot El-Nenny. Television cameras caught Salah motioning to the crowd to keep quiet near the end of the game after he was jeered at.

Before arriving in Israel, the 21-year old Salah told Swiss local media that he considers himself going to "Palestine and not to Israel as they claim."

"I agreed with the board that I will pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque," Salah said. He also added that he wants to help his teammates beat Maccabi Tel Aviv so "the occupant's flag won't be raised anymore in the competition."

Playing in Israel has long been a contentious issue in Egyptian football, with many arguing that it amounts to "normalising" ties with Israel.

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