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Aldawsari late show breaks Egyptian and record
breaker El Hadary’s hearts in Volgograd

VOLGOGRAD Russia (Xinhua) -- Saudi Arabia scored a late winner to beat Egypt 2-1 in the last game of the 2018 World Cup finals for both sides to allow them to travel home on a high note.

Salem Aldawsari slotted home from a narrow angle to give the Saudis the win their attacking play in the second half of the game deserved and it would have been an easier win, but for a combination of some naive finishing and a string of saves from Egypt’s record breaking goalkeeper Essam El Hadary.

Although the Volgograd Arena was only around two-thirds full, the game kicked off with a good atmosphere in the stands and both teams looked to move the ball around quickly, although without creating clear chances.

Aldawsawi had the first shot, although his effort sailed over the goal defended by El Hadary, who aged 45 became the oldest player ever to appear in the final stage of the World Cup.

Salah opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, racing through the middle to lob the ball over Yasser Almosailem and he should have doubled the lead three minutes later only to chip wide with just the keeper to beat.

Salah twice set up Treziguet to shoot just wide, before a good block from Ahmed Hegazy denied Salaman Alfaraj at the other end in a rare Saudi chance.

El Hadary saved a 41st minute penalty from Fahad Almuwallad after Ahmed Fathi was penalized for handball. The 45-year-old got across brilliantly to save Fahad’s spot kick, but couldn’t deny Alfaraj deep into first half injury time after the Saudis were awarded another penalty after a slight pull on Fahad as he went for a pass in the Egypt area.

The second half was an open affair with Saudi Arabia seeing more of the ball only to spoil some attractive football with their poor finishing and when they did get efforts on target, Hassain Almoqhawi and Motaz Hawsawi were denied by good stops from El Hadary.

The game looked destined for a draw but at the death up popped Aldawsari with his decisive goal to break Egypt and El Hadary’s hearts.



Egypt “unlucky” according to coach Cuper

VOLGOGRAD Russia (Xinhua) -- Egypt coach Hector Cuper said that his team was unlucky in their third defeat of the World Cup group stage after losing 2-1 to Saudi Arabia on Monday.

“Our strategy worked well and we created many good chances on the counter-attacks. We had a very good first half in which we took the lead. We were just unlucky,” Cuper said.

“I think we played well but the results didn’t go our way. We lost all three matches but we lost two games with goals conceded after 90 minutes. That’s too bad.

“I’m sad and disappointed, but at the World Cup we have to face the world’s top teams and even they concede goals too,” the coach added.

In previous games, Egypt had lost to Uruguay and hosts Russia 1-0 and 3-1 respectively. 


El Hadary makes history as oldest player ever to play in World Cup finals

VOLGOGRAD Russia (Xinhua) -- Essam El Hadary made World Cup history on Monday when he was named as the Egypt team goalkeeper for their final Group A game against Saudi Arabia in Volgograd.

As well as making his 153rd appearance for his country, the decision by Egypt coach Hector Cuper means that El Hadary, who was born on January 15th, 1973, officially becomes the oldest player ever to play a game in the World Cup finals at the age of 45 years, five months and 3 days.

The previous record was held by Colombian goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was 43 years and three days old when he played against Japan in the 2014 World Cup.

“I will be very happy if I participate and set the record,” said El Hadary during Egypt’s pre-game press conference alongside coach Hector Cuper on Sunday.



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