Liverpool's Mo Salah secures Russia 2018 place for Egypt

2018 WORLD CUP

Liverpool's Mo Salah secures Russia 2018 place for Egypt

Liverpool's Mo Salah secures Russia 2018 place for Egypt

TAREK ABDEL HAMID

AFP

There were dramatic scenes at the Borg El Arab stadium as a 95th minute penalty for The Pharaohs secures the win that sees the Egyptians at next years's competition.

Just when it seemed that Egypt's World Cup dreams would have to wait for a last Group E game away to Ghana in November after a late Congo equalizer from <span >Arnold Bouka Moutou sucked the air from the packed Borg El Arab stadium, the Egyptians were handed a lifeline with a 95th minute spot kick.

Nerves of steel 

Rarely will the Liverpool player have felt such a sense of pressure with the conversion securing a first World Cup place for the North African nation since competing at Italia 90. Salah slammed the ball left footed into the corner of the net to ensure mayhem at the packed stadium.

(L-R) Egypt's Mohamed Abdel-Shafy, Tarek Hamed, Essam El-Hadary, Mohamed Salah, Saleh Gomaa, Ahmed Fathy, Mohamed Elneny, Hassan Ahmed, Ramadan Sobhi, Ahmed Hegazi, Mohamed Abdel-Shafy pose for a team picture during their World Cup 2018 Africa qualifying match between Egypt and Congo at the Borg el-Arab stadium in Alexandria on October 8, 2017.

It was Salah too who put the Pharaohs ahead during the second half in Alexandria before Bouka Moutou's late equaliser.

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

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

Under Pressure

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.

2018 World Cup Qualifications - Africa - Egypt TrainingSoccer Football - 2018 World Cup Qualifications - Africa - Egypt Training - Borg El Arab Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt - October 7, 2017 - Egypt's head coach Hector Cuper looks on during the training session

"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 also beat Congo away and Ghana and Uganda at home to accumulate 12 points, with the only loss away to Uganda.

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