Mohamed Salah scored with a last-gasp penalty to book Egypt a place in the World Cup finals for the first time in 28 years as they edged Congo 2-1 in their dramatic Group E qualifier on Sunday.
The Liverpool forward’s two goals put Egypt four points clear with one match left in the preliminary campaign.
Salah had given his side a 63rd minute lead even though Egypt still looked tentative in a tense match with opponents who had yet to win a match at the bottom of the group.
A defensive blunder had let him in, to the relief of the home crowd, but Egypt’s dreams threatened to turn into a nightmare when Arnold Bouka Moutou equalised, firing past 44-year-old goalkeeper Essam Al Hadary with three minutes left.
The home side, though, won a 95th minute penalty which Salah converted to secure the trip to Russia – Egypt’s first appearance at the finals since 1990 in Italy.