Late Saudi strike settles send-off with Egypt
25 Jun 2018
Saudi Arabia and Egypt signed off their 2018 FIFA World Cup™ participation with an absorbing spectacle at Volgograd Arena that was only settled in the final minute. The match between Group A’s two already-eliminated sides had everything: fight, emotion, goals, broken records and a dramatic twist at the end.
Mohamed Salah’s neatly-taken lob over the onrushing goalkeeper looked to have knocked the wind out of the Saudi sails, and they almost conceded a second to the Liverpool forward immediately afterwards. However, Juan Antonio Pizzi’s team refused to give in and instead scored twice themselves – once at the end of each half.
But not before a unique piece of World Cup history: legendary Pharaohs shot-stopper Essam Elhadary, who at 45 years and 161 days is now the oldest player ever to feature at the tournament, superbly thwarted one penalty kick only to be beaten by Salman Alfaraj from 12 yards moments later. Salem Aldawsari rolled home a volley to snatch victory with the game's final influential touch.
Team Reporter Analysis
Abdullah Alghazal (Saudi Arabia) [Twitter]
Saudi Arabia played their best match of the tournament, showing quality football virtually throughout the entire 90 minutes. A momentary lapse in concentration led to the conceded goal, but the players quickly gathered themselves together and equalised before half-time. In the second half, the Saudis were the more technically proficient side and managed to snatch victory at the end.
Belal Mostafa (Egypt) [Twitter]
The Egyptians were faced with one clear task in this match: to get their first win in FIFA World Cup history. However, having failed to take their chances in the first half, the team were unable to find a way through the opponent’s tightly packed defence in the second and ended up slipping to defeat. A bitter end to the tournament.
Budweiser Man of the Match
Mohamed Salah stylishly broke the deadlock in the match with his second strike of the tournament. Moreover, it was Egypt’s quickest goal in World Cup history.
24 - Exactly 24 years ago, Saudi Arabia achieved their historic maiden victory in the World Cup. It was on 25 June 1994 that the Saudis, under coach Jorge Solari, triumphed 2-1 over Morocco.
Inside the action