Mohamed Salah scored from a penalty kick deep into injury time to send Egypt to the World Cup for the first time in 27 years after beating Republic of Congo 2-1 at home on Sunday.
Salah scored both Egypt’s goals, with the second from the spot in the fourth minute of second-half injury time for a dramatic finish in front of a capacity crowd of 30,000 at a military stadium in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria.
Egypt finished top of Group E in African qualifying with a game to spare. A seven-time African champion and the continent’s most successful team, Egypt last qualified for the World Cup in 1990 in Italy.
Salah broke the deadlock in the 63rd minute when he latched on to a through pass from midfielder Mohamed Elneny of Arsenal. Congo substitute Arnold Bouka Mouto leveled in the 86th minute with a ferocious left-footed volley that stunned Egypt’s goalkeeper Essam el-Hadary.
Egypt substitute Mahmoud Hassan was brought down in the box two minutes into injury time and Salah restored Egypt’s lead from the spot, using his left foot to find the back of the net and clinch Egypt’s place in Russia next year.
The win sent hundreds of thousands of fans across the soccer-mad country celebrating, honking car horns and waving Egypt’s red, white and black flags. In Cairo, an army helicopter dropped hundreds of Egyptian flags on thousands of fans gathered at the city’s iconic Tahrir square.