Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah scored a stoppage-time penalty to give Egypt a dramatic 2-1 win over Congo-Brazzaville on Sunday to ensure them a place at the 2018 World Cup.
This will be the first time the seven-time African champions have qualified for the global showpiece event since they last qualified for the World Cup in 1990.
With the victory over Congo, and Uganda being held to a goalless draw by Ghana in Kampala on Saturday, the Pharaohs now have an uncatchable four-point lead with one round of fixtures remaining in Group E, with their closest challengers being the Cranes.
Egypt was always expected to win the game, but the gravity of the situation looked to have gotten to the players as they found it hard to put together a decent chance against the Diables Rouges.
The closest they came to a goal was when Ahmed Hegazi’s effort was cleared off the line.
Salah, however, gave Egypt the lead in the second half following a defensive blunder which allowed him to fire past goalkeeper Barel Mouko.
The 85,000-capacity Borg El Arab Stadium was rocking after that up until the time Congo managed to get an equalizer.
Arnold Bouka Moutou, a France-based defender, turned party-pooper general when he equalized two minutes from the end of regular time in Alexandria. He beat 44-year-old goalkeeper Essam El Hadary from inside the box with a sweet volley.
A draw would not have been enough for Egypt to seal qualification as they threw caution to the wind and went in search of a winner.
Egypt won a penalty in added time after Beranger Itoua had fouled Mahmoud Ibrahim Hassan popularly known as Trezeguet in the box.
Salah stepped up and dispatched the resulting spot-kick, sending Mouko the wrong way.
Egypt joins Nigeria in being the only African nations to have qualified for the 2018 World Cup to be held in Russia.
Nigeria beat Zambia 1-0 on Saturday in the Group B fixture in Uyo to secure a place in Russia. Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi came off the bench to send the politically divided country into jubilation as the Super Eagles qualify ahead of reigning African champions Cameroon and Algeria.