Egypt exit with last-gasp loss

Egypt exit with last-gasp loss
epa06838891 Salem Al-Dawsari (L) of Saudi Arabia in action against Tarek Hamed (R) of Egypt during the FIFA World Cup 2018 group A preliminary round soccer match between Saudi Arabia and Egypt in Volgograd, Russia, 25 June 2018.

by Graeme Jackson

Monday Jun 25, 2018. 17:58

Egypt’s 2018 World Cup campaign wrapped up with a last-gasp 2-1 loss to Group A rivals Saudi Arabia at the Volgograd Arena on Monday afternoon.

The Pharaohs conceded goals deeps into injury time at the end of both halves to suffer three successive losses and pick up the ‘wooden spoon’in the group, with Uruguay and Russia advancing to the last 16 in first and second respectively.

Saudi Arabia enjoyed the early dominance in terms of possession and attacking chances, though in truth they offered little threat to Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary, who at 45 has become the oldest player to appear in a World Cup finals match.

The North Africans opened the scoring against the run of play in the 22nd minute. Abdallah Said’s long ball forward allowed Mohamed Salah to sprint between two defenders and lob the ball over the advancing goalkeeper to make it 1-0.

Egypt attacker Trezeguet twice threatened to add to his side’s advantage in the minutes after the half hour mark, but his curling, right-footed attempts both flashed wide of Yasser Al Mosailem’s left-hand post.

The Asian side had the chance to draw level from the penalty spot in the 41st minute after Ahmed Fathi had been adjudged to have handled in the box, but Fahad Al-Muwallad was denied by a brilliant save from El Hadary.

Deep in injury time at the end of the first half the ‘Green Falcons’ had another penalty awarded (after a lengthy delay to check it through VAR) and this time Salman Al-Faraj got the better of the Egyptian ‘keeper to make it 1-1 at the break.

The Pharaohs almost reclaimed the lead 12 minutes into the second half, with Trezeguet meeting an in-swinging cross from the right flank and powering a header toward goal, only to see the ball flash just wide of the ‘keeper’s left-hand upright.

Egypt’s El Hadary produced more heroics around the 70-minute mark, keeping out headers from Housain Al-Mogahwi and substitute Muhannad Assiri in quick succession to ensure his team remained on level terms.

The match looked destined to end 1-1, but Saudi Arabia struck in the fifth minute of injury time at the end of the game, with Salem Al-Dawsari sending a low shot into the back of the net via the inside of the post.

Saudi Arabia (1) 2 (Al-Faraj pen 45+6’, Al-Dawsari 90+5’)

Egypt (1) 1 (Salah 22’)

Saudi Arabia: Al Mosailem, Os. Hawsawi, Al-Breik, Al-Shahrani, M. Hawsawi, Otayf, Al-Dawsari, Bahebri (Assiri 65’), Al-Faraj, Al-Mogahwi, Al-Muwallad (Al-Shehri 79’)
Egypt: El Hadary, Fathi, Hegazy, Abdel Shafi, Gabr, Said (Warda 45+6’), Elneny, Hamed, Trezeguet (Kahraba 81’), Marwan (Sobhi 64’), Salah

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