Mohamed Salah seized his opportunity to impress in Chelsea’s 3-1 Champions League home win over Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday night, as Jose Mourinho’s side finished their group stage campaign unbeaten.
Cesc Fabregas opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Filipe Luis was brought down by Ricardo Esgaio inside the first ten minutes, before Andre Schurrle added a second shortly after with a fierce short from the edge of the box.
Sporting clawed one back five minutes after the break through Jonathan Silva, but John Obi Mikel restored the home side’s lead and secured all three points, sending their opponents crashing out of the competition in the process.
Earning a rare start with qualification for the last-16 already sealed, only a smart save prevented Salah himself from getting on the scoresheet in the second-half, amid what was an energetic outing on the left-hand side of the attack, full of flashes of inspiration.
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Signed from Swiss champions FC Basel last winter for around £11 million, following two match-winning performances against his current side in Europe, the Egyptian winger has so far struggled to work his way into manager Mourinho’s plans, making just five appearances this season for a total of 178 minutes prior to Wednesday’s match.
Behind Eden Hazard, Willian, Oscar and even Schurrle in the pecking order, recent reports have claimed that the Blues are prepared to listen to loan offers for the 22-year-old this winter, but his Sporting display might just have given them some second thoughts.
Ultimately, few doubt that Salah possesses an enormous amount of potential, but it’s simply a matter of getting enough chances to impress in the club’s star-studded squad at this point.