The return of Mohamed Salah from injury couldn ’ t prevent World Cup hosts Russia virtually sealing their place in the last 16 by beating Egypt 3 – 1 on Tuesday .
An own goal by Egypt captain Ahmed Fathy opened the floodgates on a sodden night in Saint Petersburg before goals from Denis Cheryshev and ArtemDzyuba furthered Russian hopes they can defy pre – tournament expectations with a deep run into the latter stages .
Salah did net Egypt ’ s first goal at a World Cup since 1990 from the penalty spot after he had been hauled down 17 minutes from time , but it was too little , too late for the Pharaohs .
Russia will be guaranteed a place in the last 16 and Egypt eliminated unless Saudi Arabia beat Uruguay on Wednesday .
Salah was making his first appearance since injuring his left shoulder when falling heavily after being dragged to the ground by Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final just over three weeks ago .
His presence in the starting line – up after sitting out Friday ’ s 1 – 0 defeat to Uruguay provoked a feverish excitement from the thousands of Egyptian fans that poured into the 65 , 000 -capacity Saint Petersburg stadium to almost even up the numbers in the stands with the hosts.
However , Russia had enjoyed a far more positive start in thrashing Saudi Arabia 5 -0 to snap a seven – game run without a win heading into the tournament and their greater confidence showed early on .
Aleksandr Golovin and Cheryshev were at the heart of most of Russia ’ s best moves against the Saudis and both came close to breaking the deadlock with long- range strikes .
Salah looked far from the player who scored 44 goals in his debut season for Liverpool and former Chelsea left – back Yuri Zhirkov wasn ’ t afraid to test his fitness with a series of robust challenges .
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