Match No. 33 – Saudi Arabia (2) vs Egypt (1)
Stadium: Volgograd Arena, Volgograd
With group A decided at the 2nd round of fixtures already, as Saudi Arabia and Egypt were knocked out after both losing to Uruguay and hosts Russia, this game meant nothing in context of the knockouts. This encounter was played out in the outskirts of Russia as both the countries looked to redeem themselves and their lost pride. Saudi came into the game winless in their last 12 world cup matches (drawn 2, lost 10) with Egypt searching their first ever win in the competition as well. History was made as the 45 year old Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary received the nod of coach Hector Cuper to start the game and became the oldest ever player to play at the world cup.
Saudi Arabia threatened at the start but were without any end product. Egypt regained their composure shortly and opened the scoring with Salah scoring a delightful lob over the keeper. Soon after, Saudi’s spot kick was saved in some fashion by the record breaking El Hadary but couldn’t keep out another one which the referee awarded late into the first half. Saudi dominated possession throughout the game with 64% and produced 23 shots, 8 of which were on target compared to just one from Egypt. But the Saudis were livid with themselves for not taking their chances well and the game was heading out for a draw until Al Dawsari bailed his side out with a dramatic late winner that proved to be the last kick of the game. To know the game in details, keep reading below.
5’ – Both sides enjoying a fair share of possession, but lacking intent in the final third.
11’ – MISS! Dawsari has a shot at goal from outside the area and completely misses the goal, going up and over.
15’ – MISS! Dawsari does brilliantly to skip past two Egyptian players before shooting but once again misses the target off a long way.
20’ – A pass is played from behind but Salah is caught fractionally offside.
22’ – GOAL! El Said lifts a perfect through ball for Salah who controls it nicely before sensationally chipping it over the rushing goalkeeper. The Egyptian King refuses to celebrate the goal.
24’ – MISS! Salah is played in once again and is one on one with the keeper but misses the chance as he chips the ball well wide. Unbelievable!
39’ – It’s a penalty to Saudi Arabia! Al Shahrani’s cross is handled in the box by Fathy and the referee points to the spot.
41’ – SAVE! Al Muwallad steps up and puts plenty of power behind his spot kick but the oldest every world cup player, El Hadary comes up with a great save! Inspirational!
45+2’ – It’s another penalty to Saudi Arabia! Al Muwallad is brought down in the box by Gabr and the referee points to the spot. After consulting VAR the decision stands and Gabr is shown a yellow card.
45+6’ – GOAL! It’s all square late in the first half as Al Faraj gets the better of the Egyptian keeper this time and sends him the wrong way.
45+7’ – Egypt replace El Said by Warda right at the stroke of half time.
65’ – Egypt make another change as Sobhi replaces the striker Mohsen. For Saudi Arabia, Bahebri is replaced by Aseri.
70’ – MISS! Salah dummies and Elneny receives the ball at the edge of the box, but his shot misses the top corner of the net.
79’ – Al Muwallad, who missed the Saudi Arabian penalty is substituted by Al Shehri.
81’ – Egypt make their final change as Trezeguet makes way for Kahraba.
86’ – Fathy is shown the yellow card for a foul.
90+5’ – GOAL! Al Dawsari clinches the win for Saudi Arabia as Otayf plays a lovely first time ball into the box and Dawsari buries it into the bottom corner. Egypt are devastated!
FT: Saudi Arabia 2-1 Egypt
Saudi Arabia –
Abdullah Otayf (***): The 25 year-old Saudi midfielder was at his dynamic best today. He completed 110 passes (96%), 5 accurate long balls, made 131 touches, won 7 duels, 3 fouls, 2 tackles and 3 interceptions, and provided the assist that produced the goal in the final minute of the game.
Mohamed Salah (**): He started the game really well for the Pharaohs and got them the lead with a beautiful lob finish over the goalkeeper but was far from his best for the rest of the game. He missed a couple of clear chances, and could just complete 12 passes besides winning only 33% of the total duels.
*** Exceeded expectation ** Met expectation * Didn’t meet expectation
Salem Al-Dawsari – The 26 year-old winger who plies his trade at Villarreal on loan from Al-Hilal was definitely the stand-out player today. With a passing accuracy of 91%, he made 89 touches, 5 dribbles besides winning 9 duels and 2 tackles. However the highlight of the game remains the goal that won Saudi Arabia the game.
Viewer Rating: **
The neutrals would agree that this game was quite an entertainer, and produced a dramatic ending to both the halves. A delightful finish from one of most popular players in this world cup, a penalty saved by the world cup’s oldest ever player, and then a penalty scored in the 6th minute of stoppage time in the first half and then a goal scored in the 5th minute of added time in second half, this game can be termed as ‘dramatic’ to say the very least.
Both the teams tweaked with their playing XI before the start of the game. Egypt dominated the first half despite enjoying lesser possession but Saudi Arabia responded well and were awarded with 2 penalties, scoring from one of them. After snatching a late winner they leave on a high note with 3 points at third place. As for Egypt they’d we very disappointed to lose all the 3 games, despite producing some quality football with some promising players.
With both teams eliminated already before the game, there was nothing to lose for either of them. With Saudi Arabia snatching a late goal, it leaves them at third place of group A with 3 points with Egypt at last place without a point.