Saudi Arabia started the game the stronger but it was Egypt who broke the deadlock through Mo Salah midway through the first period. The Liverpool star latched onto a through ball and lifted it over the onrushing goalkeeper.
This didn’t deter the Saudi Arabians and they continued to attack. They were rewarded with a 40th minute penalty and it was down to 45 year old Hassam El-Hadary in the Egyptian goal to protect their lead. He did just that with a fantastic leap to his right hand side where he was able to tip the penalty onto the bar and away to safety.
Just 5 minutes later, and deep in first half stoppage time, El-Hadary was once again called on as Saudi Arabia were awarded a second penalty in just 5 minutes. This time, Salman Al Faraj stepped up and he was able to send the keeper the wrong way and register Saudi Arabia’s first goal of the tournament.
After the excitement of the first half, the second 45 minutes were a slight disappointment. Both sides made two substitutions each, although our Elmo failed to come on, and this disrupted the rhythm of the game somewhat.
The game finished with a bang when in the 95th minute, Salem Al Dawsari received the ball on the right hand side of the box and his shot across the keeper nestled into the bottom corner to give Saudi Arabia their first points of the tournament and hand Egypt their second injury time defeat in Group A.
As a result of this late winner, Egypt finish Group A bottom of the group with 3 defeats out of 3. This, however, doesn’t reflect the performances of the Pharaohs who lost in injury time twice against Uruguay and Saudi Arabia and were the better side for 45 minutes against Russia.
In the other game in Group A, Uruguay faced Russia in a game which would ultimately decide who finished to play of the group. In truth Uruguay bossed the game from start to finish and we’re comfortable 3-0 winners against the hosts. They were helped by the poor judgement of Russian right back Smolnikov who was sent off after two yellow cards in he first half. This result means Uruguay finish the group stage top of Group A with 3 wins out of 3 and Russia also qualify as runners up with 6 points from their 3 games.