Salah ‘trolled’ by referee during AFCON heartbreak (VIDEO)
Egyptian superstar Mo Salah was on the receiving end of an earful from the match referee during Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations final against Senegal after the official offered Salah his cards and whistle after the Liverpool star complained about a first-half decision which went against his team.
A decisive shootout penalty from Salah's Liverpool colleague Sadio Mane was enough to claim a famous win for Senegal in African football's showpiece game but before the game went down to the wire, Salah's on-field protests were likely the most contentious incidents of a tight opening period.
After complaining about a yellow card being shown to one of his teammates, Salah was put in his place by the match official Victor Gomes who offered the Egyptian talisman his cards and his whistle, apparently asking the Liverpool man if he would like to officiate the game himself.
The referee asked Salah if he wants to officiate the game 😂 I love AFCON pic.twitter.com/LSG6xjqqlL— Bambino (@_CrissoN) February 6, 2022
The referee offered Mo Salah his whistle and cards after he complained about a decision 😅 pic.twitter.com/VkKQBz4JSS— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 6, 2022
You should have taken the whistle. pic.twitter.com/zwLilE1AHk— Mr. 547 (@Mr547Amir) February 6, 2022
It also appeared that the official said to Salah, "Do you want to referee?" before ushering him away.
This came after Salah also had a heated exchange with the referee in his nation's semi-final win against hosts Cameroon.
Salah's frustrations continued after the final whistle when his Liverpool strike partner Mane sank the title-winning penalty after neither side could be separated after 120 minutes of action.
But despite Salah's disappointment, several fans on Twitter couldn't help but revel in seeing one of the world's best players being told off by the referee.
The referee just asked Mo Salah if he would like to officiate the game. I'll miss this competition— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) February 6, 2022
"The referee just asked Mo Salah if he would like to officiate the game. I'll miss this competition," wrote on Twitter account of the incident.
Another, though, suggested that Salah's antics were inevitable because he claims that his Liverpool side often get the benefit of refereeing decisions in the Premier League: "You have to remember, as a Liverpool player, he is used to refs giving him every decision. It must’ve been confusing for him (and Mane too) when every slight touch and dramatic dive didn’t result in a penalty."
A third showed off some rudimentary photoshop skills by switching Salah's head on to the match referee's body.
And if any ignominy remains between both Salah and Mane after their penalty shootout rivalry in Cameroon late on Sunday, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will be hoping that those sentiments don't join them on the plane back to England with both in contention to make their return to the Reds' starting lineup ahead of Thursday fixture with Leicester City.