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Saudi Arabia have clinched their first win of the tournament, coming from behind to beat a disappointing Egypt at the death in their final match of the group round at this World Cup.
Egyptian superstar Mo Salah scored first to put the Egyptians in the lead, and had a number of chances to score again as the first half went on.
Saudi Arabia were fortunate to receive a penalty after a handball in the box, but the shot was saved by 45-year-old keeper Essam El-Hadary. El-Hadary belied his age to leap athletically at the ball, deflecting it onto the post and away from goal.
In first half injury time however the Saudi Arabians received another penalty call, with Salman al-Faraj making no mistake in converting the spot kick to draw level.
The longer the match went on the more it resembled its dead rubber status, with players and seemingly fans already planning their travel home. When second half injury time rolled around, it looked like both sides would be picking up their first points of the tournament with a 1-1 draw – before Salem Al Dawsari’s late winner sealed the deal for the Saudis.
The result spared the Saudis blushes after two big losses to open the tournament. Egypt on the other hand received their third defeat of the tournament, a disappointing result for a side many had tipped to join Uruguay in the Round of 16.
The other match in the group finished with Uruguay defeating Russia by 3-0, meaning that the South Americans qualified first in their group with three wins from three matches. Russia were unable to match their performances from the previous two matches, but still go through the the knockout rounds.
Their opponents in the Round of 16 will depend on results later tonight, with Iberian giants Spain and Portugal expected to qualify first and second in their group.