Egypt Lose With Influential Salah, Russia Book Round of 16 Ticket
By Izuchukwu Okosi
Egypt with returning talisman Mohamed Salah on Tuesday evening were eliminated from the 2018 World Cup by hosts Russia after a heartbreaking 3-1 defeat at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.
An Ahmed Fathy’s own goal and strikes by Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba killed off Egypt’s World Cup hopes 28 years after making a return to the tournament. The win mean Russia have clinched a berth in the Round of 16.
Mohamed Salah’s penalty was Egypt’s consolation on the night.
Russia made the first inroad in the match and their pressure almost paid off with two chances for Sergey Ignashevich and Aleksandr Golovin before the fifth minute.
Egypt’s confidence grew as the match went by and Mohamed Trezeguet’s shot from the edge of the box in the 15th minute showed the Pharaoh’s determination to score the night’s first – and perhaps – only goal of the contest.
Former Chelsea star Yuri Zhirkov cleared the ball out for a corner as Salah prowled around the post in the 34th minute.
Salah produced an instinctive shot at the edge of the box four minutes to the break after a good lay off by All Ahly striker Marwan Mohsen but the ball was agonisingly off target.
Egypt captain Ahmed Fathy on his 129th international appearance for his country inadvertently turned the ball into his team’s net while attempting to clear the ball in the 47th minute for Russia’s goal – the fifth own goal of Russia 2018.
Salah had a glorious chance to get the elusive goal for Egypt ten minutes into the second half but the ball was cleared for a corner.
Russia scored a crucial 59th minute second goal through Denis Cheryshev prodding home the ball after a delightful cut back from marauding right back Mario Fernandes. It was his third of the tournament.
The anguish on the Egyptian bench was still simmering in when Artem Dzyuba snatched the third goal just three minutes later with a brilliant finish in the box after a control of the ball with his chest.
Trezeguet had a decent chance to score from the edge of the box but his shot after a Salah pass went close but not quite where he wanted it. He was soon subbed off for Huddersfield Town’s new buy Ramadan Sobhy.
Salah scored from the spot in the 73rd minute after the referee had to consult the VAR on a possible foul inside the box on the Liverpool man.