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FIFA World Cup: Russia 2018

Egypt’s Winless World Cup Jinx Continues in El-Hadary’s History Making Match

Egypt’s winless run at the FIFA World Cup continued after they surrendered a 1-0 lead to lose by 2-1 to Saudi Arabia who themselves ended a run of 12 World Cup matches without winning (D2 L10), recording their first victory since June 1994 when they won 1-0 against Belgium.

After losing their opening two matches, The Pharaohs came into today’s encounter with only pride to play for and facing a team they had beaten four times out of their six previous meetings. The possibility of a first ever World Cup win for the Pharaohs was very high in the run-up to the duel.

The 2017 Africa Cup of Nations finalists were the first to strike thanks to Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah who brilliantly lobbed over keeper Yasser Al-Mosailem in the 22nd minute.

The 26-year-old should have doubled his tally when he found himself one-on-one with Al-Mosailem, but instead inexplicably dinked his finish wide of the left-hand post.

Saudi Arabia were handed a lifeline in the 39th minute after  Al Sharahni’s cross hit Ahmed Fathy’s arm but 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam El Hadary saved Al Muwallad’s powerful shot towards his right, diving across to tip the ball onto the crossbar to become only the fourth goalkeeper to save a penalty on his debut since 1966.

Saudi Arabia were given a second penalty after Muwallad went down in the area under a challenge from Gabr this time Al Faraj stepped up and successfully sent El-Hadary  the wrong way to bring Saudi Arabia level on the stroke of half-time.

The second half provided little excitement as chances were hard to come by.  The match seemed like it was headed for a draw but Salem El-Dawsari exploited a scramble inside Egypt’s penalty before finishing in the bottom corner of the net in additional time to condemn Egypt to their third straight loss at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Despite the loss Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary will look back to the match with pride because apart from his outstanding performance, the veteran made a record as the oldest player in the history of the World to feature in a match, at the age of 45 years and 161 days, breaking the record set by Colombia’s Faryd Mondragon in 2014 (43y 3d).

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