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El-Hadary: I apologise to Egyptian fans

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Essam El-Hadary

Saudi Arabia fought back after falling behind to Mohamed Salah's second FIFA World Cup goal to claim a 2-1 win over Egypt in their final Group A game of Russian Federation 2018.

The result means Saudi Arabia finish in third place in Group A with three points while Egypt finish bottom and their wait to win a match at a World Cup finals goes on.

He soon underlined his importance on the pitch though, calmly lifting the ball over advancing goalkeeper Yasser Al Mosailem in the 22nd minute after latching on to a raking pass forward.

Egypt has included Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah in their squad in the final match of the tournament for the two already-eliminated teams.

Subs: Aseri (6), Al Shehriat (6). He broke clear on goal but, after drawing Al Mosailem, uncharacteristically dinked wide of the right-hand post.

El-Hadary, who is regarded as one of Africa's best goalkeepers of all time, started his career in 1996 and is a four-time African Cup of Nations champion.

Saudi Arabia should have been level five minutes before the break when Ahmed Fathy was penalised for handball just inside the box, even though the ball was sacked at him from close range.

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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.

Even with the use of VAR and having the opportunity to view the incident himself, the referee stuck with his original decision and Salman Al-Faraj made no mistake as he swept the ball into the left-hand corner.

Yasser Al-Mosailem started in goal for Saudi Arabia, meaning all three of the squad's goalkeepers will have played one game in Russian Federation.

"It would not only be my achievement but also an achievement for Egypt".

The 25-year-old's relationship with the Egyptian FA was strained leading up to the tournament due to a sponsorship row taking focus away from preparations, while he is reportedly disappointed at how he has been used for political gain by administrators.

El Hadary, who is 45 years and 161 days old, is at his first World Cup for the Pharaohs and won his 157th cap. He became the first player to be sent off for the World Cup hosts since Itumeleng Khune's red card for South Africa in 2010.

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