Egypt became the second African nation after Nigeria to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup following a last-gasp 2-1 win against Congo-Brazzaville.
Liverpool star Mohamed Salah was the hero with a brace as the Pharaohs reached the finals for the first time in 27 years, in the process ending Ghana’s feint hopes of qualification.
Egypt were always expected to win this game, but the gravity of the situation seemed to get to the players as they battled to get going against the Diables Rouges, with the closest they came to a first-half opener being Ahmed Hegazi’s effort which was cleared off the line.
In fact, it was Congo who almost took the lead just after the break, only for 44-year-old Egyptian goalkeeper Essam El Hadary to save a well-struck volley at the back-post.
The hosts needed some magic, and it came in the shape of star man Salah. The winger capitlised on a poor clearing header, cutting in from the right and lobbing the ball over goalkeeper Barel Mouko.
The home fans were jubilant, knowing a World Cup ticket was theirs, but with two minutes to go Congo drew level — Arnold Bouka ghosting in at the far post to sweep home a volley past El Hadary.
But the Pharaohs were not to be denied, and in time added on Salah got his second from the penalty spot after Beranger Itoua had fouled Trezeget.