Mohamed Salah scored in the final minute to give Egypt a 3-2 home victory over Tunisia on Friday in a 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match between two countries who have already qualified.
The Liverpool star chipped the ball into the net to complete the scoring in a seesaw matchday 5 struggle during which both sides led. Salah has scored four goals in Cup of Nations qualifiers — two less than chart-topper Odion Ighalo of Nigeria.
Naim Sliti gave Tunisia an early lead that Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan cancelled before half-time at the 86,000-seat Borg el Arab stadium in Alexandria.
Baher el Mohamady nodded Egypt in front on the hour only for Sliti to score again with 18 minutes remaining and a draw seemed likely until Salah struck.
Victory brought Egypt level with Tunisia in Group J on 12 points, but the losers retained first place on head-to-head records.
Tunisia entered the match as the only team among the 48 in the qualifying competition boasting a 100 precent record having beaten Egypt at home, eSwatini away and Niger twice. It was the first match in charge for Tunisian co-caretaker coaches Mourad Okbi and Maher Kanzari after veteran Faouzi Benzarti was axed despite delivering four victories.
Madagascar, Senegal and hosts Cameroon have also qualified for the 2019 Cup of Nations – the first to feature 24 teams – and another 15 countries could secure places this weekend. Burundi have nine points, Mali eight, Gabon seven and South Sudan none with the second and third-place teams meeting in Libreville Saturday.
The top two finishers qualify and a Malian victory over Gabon would assure them of a place at the June 15-July 13 tournament in Cameroon.
© Agence France-Presse (additional edits from Chris Kelleher)