Saudi Arabia defeat Egypt with last-minute winner

Saudi Arabia defeat Egypt with last-minute winner
Copyright REUTERS
By Alexander Macrae
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Saudi Arabia beat Egypt 2-1 with a last-minute goal.


A last minute goal from Al Dawsari meant that Saudi Arabia won their first World Cup game in 24 years and finished third in Group A, above Egypt.

Egypt took the lead in the first half — Mohammed Salah lifted the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper. Egypt could have extended their lead with Salah and Trezeguet both missing chances.

Saudi Arabia began to grow into the game after the missed Egyptian chances, they won a penalty after Al Sharahni's cross struck the arm of Ibrahim. This penalty was then saved by record-breaking, 45-year-old goalkeeper El Hadary, who tipped it onto the bar.

The first-half drama was not over, however, as Saudi Arabia were given another penalty in added time at the end of the first half. After a VAR check lasting over 3 minutes, the penalty was confirmed and Al Faraj fired it past the goalkeeper to level things up.

The second half lacked quality and the game appeared to be moving quietly towards a 1-1 draw until Al Burayk's cross ricocheted into the path of Al Dawsari, who drilled the ball across goal and into the bottom corner to win it for Saudi Arabia.

Five takeaways from Saudi Arabia vs Egypt


The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has been a constant source of debate throughout the World Cup so far — some love it, some hate it and some don't understand it at all. When Saudi Arabia were awarded their second penalty and the VAR review began, it became everyone's focus.

Al Muwallad went down in the area under a challenge from Gabr and the referee pointed straight to the spot but both players appeared to be holding each other. The VAR automatically began checking the penalty and, after a couple of minutes of discussion, the referee was then asked to go to the pitch-side monitor and decide for himself — he did, and after checking multiple replays decided to stick with his own decision.

Although the penalty itself is up for debate, the review took over three minutes and this will be the big talking point. It took far too long and will definitely need to be streamlined in future.

An historic day

There were two momentous moments in this game — one for each nation.

The Egyptian goalkeeper El Hadary made history as he became the oldest player ever to appear at a World Cup, topping off his special day by saving a penalty. 

Another piece of history that was made as this game was the fact that it was the first time Saudi Arabia had won a World Cup match in 24 years.

A late, late goal

The second half of the game had all the attributes of a game with no real consequence, between two sides already out of the competition — it lacked intensity and it lacked quality. It looked to be heading for a draw, until the ball ricocheted to Al Dawsari in the Egyptian area and he fired home with the last kick of the game, sparking jubilant scenes from the Saudi Arabian fans. This goal, more than any other, shows a surprise can be around the corner in even the most lacklustre of games.

Poor show from Egypt, again

Egypt's World Cup campaign has been a disaster. They lost all three of their games and none of their performances warranted a better result. This is a stark contrast to their hopes at the start of the tournament, where most backed them to get out of the group, at least. Egypt have struggled massively going forwards and their defence has looked leaky at best. If they are to make any progress with the national team, they will need to improve drastically.

Mohammed Salah

Mo Salah has hardly had the best build up to a World Cup. He dislocated his shoulder in the Champions League final, had to fight to get fit for the tournament and he has clearly had disagreements with those higher up in the Egyptian national team. Salah has looked out of sorts throughout the tournament and has struggled to make an impact. We've seen flashes of the player Liverpool fans lauded last season but not to the same level.

In truth, it looks like Salah is still injured — he is not 100% fit and his disagreements with the national team are well known. With Salah apparently threatening retirement from the national team, it would appear Egypt have a struggle ahead of them to keep their star man.

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