Uruguay finish top, Salah, Egypt leave empty

first_imgIn the other group fixture, Saudi Arabia winger Salem Al-Dawsari scored a last-gasp winner as Mohamed Salah’s Egypt suffered a 2-1 loss in their Group A dead rubber in Volgograd.The 45-year-old Egypt goalkeeper Essam El Hadary became the oldest player in World Cup history and saved the first of two controversial penalties after Salah had opened the scoring, with Salman Al-Faraj equalising from the second spot-kick, before Al-Dawsari had the final say.In Samara, Russia were reduced to 10 men after 36 minutes when right-back Igor Smolnikov was sent off for two yellow cards in a match that will be a reality check for a team that easily won its first two matches.This is the first time Uruguay have won all three group games at a World Cup finals.The South Americans will play their last-16 tie in Sochi this Saturday against the Group B runners-up, either Spain, Portugal or Iran.Russia, who had sealed their spot for the last 16 before the match, will have the consolation of a day’s extra rest and huge support at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium when they face the Group B winners on Sunday.Uruguay stamped their authority early in the group decider.When Russian midfielder Iury Gazinsky fouled Rodrigo Bentancur on the edge of the area, Suarez expertly placed the direct free-kick in the gap between the out-stretched glove of Russia’s goalkeeper and the post on 10 minutes.Uruguay doubled their lead when Diego Laxalt’s shot took a wicked deflection off the leg of defender Cheryshev and flew past the despairing Akinfeev on 23 minutes.Uruguay’s forward Luis Suarez (L) celebrates and Russia’s goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev (R) reacts after Uruguay’s second goal scored by Uruguay’s defender Diego Laxalt during the Russia 2018 World Cup Group A football match between Uruguay and Russia at the Samara Arena in Samara on June 25, 2018.It was heart-breaking for Cheryshev, who scored twice in the 5-0 trouncing of Saudi Arabia in the opening game.– Russia kept battling –To compound Russia’s problems, Smolnikov was sent off after scything down Laxalt just eight minutes after his first booking.Smolnikov, one of three changes from the team which enjoyed a 3-1 win over Egypt, was on the verge of tears as he trudged off with the home crowd stunned into near silence.Russia coach Stanislav Cherchesov responded by taking Cheryshev off and slotting Brazilian-born Mario Fernandes into the vacant right-back berth.Despite the numerical disadvantage, Russia had opportunities to get back in the game as they kept battling.With 20 minutes remaining, the video assistant referee turned down Russian appeals for a penalty after Artem Dzyuba appeared to be elbowed in the face by Diego Godin.Moments later, a badly-hit clearance kick by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera was snapped up by the Russians and Dzyuba fired just over the bar from 14 metres out.Cavani sealed the win on 90 minutes by tapping home the rebound, after Akinfeev had parried Godin’s header.-Saudi break Egyptian heartsThings didn’t go too well for Salah and Egypt in Volgograd as  Saudi Arabia scored deep into stoppage time in both halves, with Salem Al-Dawsari’s last-gasp winner securing their first World Cup victory since a run to the last 16 in 1994.Egypt still have not recorded a World Cup finals win in three appearances, despite the Liverpool talisman’s superb opening goal.El Hadary, 45, made an incredible penalty save but was powerless to keep out a second spot-kickEl Hadary was 45 years and 161 days old when he took to the field as the two already-eliminated teams in Group A played only for pride.He smashed the age record set by Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who was aged 43 years and three days when he played against Japan in Brazil in 2014.Salah was named in the starting line-up as expected and thrilled an Egyptian-dominated crowd of 36,823 by opening the scoring in trademark fashion after 22 minutes.The 26-year-old controlled a long ball over the top with one touch of his left boot at pace and did not break stride before lobbing a deft finish with the same foot over the onrushing goalkeeper Yasser Al-Mosailem.Salah at least had the consolation of scoring Egypt’s first goal from open play at the World Cup since May 27, 1934, when Abdulrahman Fawzi netted in a 4-2 defeat by Hungary.The Egyptians were still clinging onto their lead when the Saudis were awarded a controversial second penalty deep into first-half stoppage time as Fahad appeared to pull the shirt of the covering Ali Gabr before going down in a heap.But after a VAR-induced review that took almost five minutes to complete, Colombian referee Wilmar Roldan decided to stick with his original decision.It was second time lucky from the spot as Salman Al-Faraj took responsibilty from 12 yards and El Hadary could not repeat his heroics as the first-half clock ticked past 51 minutes.El Hadary made his debut for Egypt in 1996, a year before his Egyptian teammate Ramadan Sobhi was born.He is older than three coaches at Russia 2018 — Roberto Martinez of Belgium, Serbia’s Mladen Krstajic and Aliou Cisse of Senegal.The Pharoahs captain lived up to his nickname of “High Dam” with two stunning saves from headers in the second half.But in the fifth minute of second-half injury-time, Al-Dawsari popped up in the box to beat El Hadary with the last kick of the match and secure a famous Saudi win.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin celebrate one of their goals against hosts Russia in a Group A match in Samara on June 25, 20`8. PHOTO/FIFASAMARA, Russia, Jun 25- Uruguay beat 10-man Russia 3-0 on Monday to top World Cup Group A with three wins out of three as the host nation qualified for the next round in second place.Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 10th minute and the South Americans extended their lead with the help of a Denis Cheryshev own goal midway through the first half. Edinson Cavani added a late third.last_img