Salah scores as Egypt lose to Saudi Arabia, crash out

Mohamed Salah scored in two appearances for Egypt at the World Cup

Mohamed Salah scored in two appearances for Egypt at the World Cup

Mohamed Salah scored his second goal of the World Cup but Egypt ended their campaign pointless with defeat by Saudi Arabia at Volgograd Arena.

The Liverpool forward gave Egypt the lead with a brilliant lob over keeper Yasser Al-Mosailem in the 22nd minute.

Egypt’s Essam El Hadary, 45, became the oldest player to feature at a World Cup and saved Fahad Al Muwallad’s penalty.

However, he could not stop Salman Al Faraj’s spot-kick and was beaten again by Salem Al Dawsari with seconds left.

El Hadary makes history, saves pen… but ends up on losing side

It was an opening half of record achievements and firsts.

Egypt keeper El Hadary became the oldest player to feature in a World Cup match, the team scored their first World Cup from open play since 1934 and the Saudis scored their first goal of the tournament.

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And it was first blood to Egypt as Salah recorded his second goal of the tournament.

The Liverpool forward, mistakenly omitted from the starting XI in the initial tweet from the Egyptian FA, collected a long ball from Abdallah El Said and finished with a lofted effort over the head of keeper Al-Mosailem.

Up until then Saudi Arabia had been on top, but had failed to test El Hadary. That changed in the 41st minute when the Asian side were awarded a penalty for Ahmed Fathy’s handball.

Al Muwallad took the spot-kick, but his firm strike was brilliantly pushed onto the bar by the veteran.

However, in first-half stoppage time Saudi were awarded a second penalty – after a VAR review – when Ali Gabr was deemed to have pulled down Al Muwallad in the area.

Al Faraj took over the spot-kick duties and fired his effort to the right of El Hadary in the sixth minute of first-half stoppage time.

The Saudis should have scored again through Hussain Al-Mogahwi and Mohannad Aseri, but both of their headers were superbly dealt with by the 45-year-old Egypt goalkeeper.

However, just when it seemed like El Hadary’s heroics had earned his side their first point of the tournament, Al Dawsari fired in angled shot for Saudi Arabia’s first World Cup win since 1994.

How did Salah perform?

It was a tale of two halves for the Liverpool player.

In the first period, he looked dangerous and worked well in tandem with right-sided midfielder Trezeguet.

His goal was ‘classic Salah’ – collecting a long, raking pass with one touch before lifting the ball over the advancing Saudi Arabia goalkeeper.

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.

Salah was less effective in attack after the break, and was forced to defend as Egypt came under pressure from their opponents.

A pre-tournament injury and controversy over his meeting with the Chechnya leader meant it was not the ideal build-up to his first World Cup, nor the finish he would have wanted. But having scored two goals, Salah leaves his mark on football’s biggest stage.

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