Salem Al-Dawsari left it late as his 95th-minute goal lifted Saudi Arabia to a 2-1 victory over Egpyt in a dead rubber between the teams in Group A of the World Cup on Monday in Volgograd.
The winning goal started with a cross from the right into the penalty area to Abdalla Said, who touched it ahead to Al-Dawsari, whose sharp-angled shot from the six-yard box beat Egpyt keeper Essam Al-Hadary across the face of goal and inside the left post.
The victory was the first for the Green Falcons at the World Cup since a 1-0 victory over Belgium to conclude group play in 1994. They had gone winless in 12 games (0-2-10), getting outscored 36-7 in that span before breaking through.
Mo Salah scored his second goal for Egypt, which concluded group play with three losses and no points. The Pharaohs, making their first World Cup appearance since 1990, are 0-2-5 all-time in football’s biggest tournament.
Salah opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, catching up to a ball sent over the top by Abdalla Said and after controlling it with his left foot, he looped a chip from the top of the penalty area over on-rushing Saudi Arabia keeper Yasser Al-Mosailem.
The Liverpool striker should have doubled Egypt’s lead three minutes later when he again got behind Saudi Arabia’s defense, but this time he fluffed his lines and chipped wide of the right post.
The Green Falcons were given a lifeline in the 40th minute when referee Wilmar Rodan whistled Egypt defender Ahmed Fathi for a hand ball. The 45-year-old Al-Hadary, the oldest player to ever appear in a World Cup match, was equal to the challenge as he got his right hand to Fahad Al-Muwallad’s spot kick aiming for the upper left corner and deflected it off the crossbar.
Rodan pointed to the spot a second time in stoppage time when he saw Ali Gabr shove Al-Muwallad in the penalty area and consulted VAR to confirm his decision. This time, Salman Al-Faraj took the penalty and sent Al-Hadary the wrong way while slicing a left-footed shot into the net.
Saudi Arabia dominated possession in the early part of the second half, but Egypt had an excellent chance in the 57th minute when Mahmoud Trezeguet put his header just wide of target. The third time was the charm for Al-Mosailem, who dashed off his line to beat Salah to a through ball on 62 minutes.
El-Hadary did well to tip Hussain Al-Mogahwi’s unmarked header over the bar from 12 yards in the 70th minute, while Al-Mosailem stopped a shot by Salah in the 84th minute.