China / Sports

Salah sends Egypt to World Cup

(China Daily) Updated: 2017-10-10 07:17

CAIRO - Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah converted a stoppage-time penalty to give Egypt a dramatic 2-1 win over Congo on Sunday and a place in the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Salah put Egypt ahead during the second half in Alexandria only for Arnold Bouka Moutou to equalize two minutes from the end of regular time.

Victory gave Egypt an uncatchable four-point lead over Uganda in Group E with one round of matches remaining.

Uganda was held 0-0 by Ghana in Kampala on Saturday.

A defensive blunder allowed constant menace Salah to fire past goalkeeper Barel Mouko in the 63rd minute at sold-out 85,000-capacity Borg El Arab Stadium.

But Congo threatened to turn party-poopers as substitute Moutou, who plays for Dijon in France's top flight, beat 44-year-old goalkeeper Essam El Hadary from inside the box.

A draw would not have been enough for Egypt to seal qualification and it got the winner when Salah sent Mouko the wrong way from the spot.

Egypt last qualified for the World Cup in 1990 with the record seven-time African champion enduring numerous heart-breaking failures since.

The desperation to qualify was so great ahead of the Congo match that Argentina-born Egypt coach Hector Cuper admitted he was taking medication for high blood pressure.

"I am taking hypertension medicine due to the stress I suffer from continuing criticism," he told reporters without specifying who his critics were.

"Life is full of stress, but the challenge of reaching the World Cup is the toughest stress I have faced."

Egypt had also beaten Congo away and Ghana and Uganda at home to accumulate 12 points, with its only loss away to Uganda.

Nigeria became the first African qualifier on Saturday with a 1-0 Group B win over Zambia in Uyo, thanks to a goal from another English Premier League player, Alex Iwobi of Arsenal.

Either Tunisia or the Democratic Republic of Congo will qualify from Group A and Morocco or Cote I'voire from Group C.

All four Group D teams - Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and South Africa - are in contention to finish first with the final matches scheduled for November.

Agence France-presse

Hot Topics