The Pharaohs of Egypt have taken a giant step to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after leaving it late to beat Congo 2-1 in Alexandria on Sunday night.
A brace from Mohamed Salah sees Egypt straight ahead at the top of their 2018 World Cup qualifying group after beating Congo 2-1 at the Borg El Arab Stadium.
It was not all plain sailing for the Pharaohs who needed a 95th minute penalty goal to seal the victory in their penultimate Group E qualifier.
The match itself in Alexandria on Sunday was a rather dull affair with Egypt very cagey in attack as they opted to defend in numbers to avoid defeat.
Egypt played much better in the second half and threw numbers forward in attack in search of the goal that would send them to Russia next year.
The win, though, is enough to see Egypt go to the top of Group E with 12 points from five matches.
The Pharaohs thought they had found that goal in the 63rd minute when Mohamed Salah found the back of the net with a clinical finish, 1-0.
Egypt looked to be cruising to victory until Arnold Bouka Moutou equalised for Congo in the 88th minute.
The drama, however, was not over with Mohamed Salah converting from the penalty spot in the 95th minute to hand Egypt a 2-1 win and a place in the World Cup next year.
The last round of qualifiers will take place in November with Congo hosting Uganda and Egypt traveling to Ghana.
Uganda, who drew 0-0 with Ghana on Saturday, are second in the group with eight points and with only one 2018 World Cup qualifying game to go.
Ghana are third with six points and Congo last with one point in Group E.
Congo, on the other hand, offered very little in attack and the opening half ended 0-0.
Meanwhile the Ghanaians have lodged an official complaint for the match to be played again for refereeing errors. The leaders of the GFA claim Referee Daniel Bennett and his charges failed to award an clan penalty on Frank Acheampong and then also for disallowing a correct goal scored by striker Rafael Dwamena just before the end of the game.
The response from FIFA can go a long way to affect the group standings should any changes be made.
Egypt (0) 2 (Mohamed Salah 63’ + 95’ pen)
Congo (0) 1 (Moutou 88’)
Egypt: El Hadary, Hegazy, Fathi, Abdelshafi, Rabia, Elneny, Hamed, Sobhi (Elmohamady 88’), Salah, Hassan (Gamal 78’), Gomaa (Mahmoud 56’).
Congo: Mouko, Itoua, Mayembo, Etou, Badila, N’dinga, Saint-Louis (Gandze 93’), Delarge (Bouka Moutou 71’), Oniangue, Bahamboula (Ndockyt 84’), Bifouma.