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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Egypt fall just short in Arab Cup U-20 final penalty kick defeat to hosts Saudi Arabia

Egypt took down two African rivals in Morocco and Algeria to reach the final of the Arab Cup U-20 competition in Saudi Arabia but the Young Pharaohs could not clear the final hurdle, losing to the hosts 5-3 in a penalty kick shootout after drawing 1-1 at the Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Stadium in Abha. Saudi Arabia win the competition for the second straight time while Egypt reach their best ever finish but will regret missing out on an excellent opportunity to shock the hosts.

After a couple of speculative looks on the Saudi goal in the first half, Egypt were struck by a devastating goal just before halftime. Abdulaziz Al Aliwa collected a pass from the wing and bore down on the Egyptian goal before sending a well hit effort that was too much for goalkeeper Ahmed Nader Al-Sayed to handle as the ball scorched into the roof of his net.

To their credit Egypt bounced back after the halftime break and got right to work on finding a leveler, which arrived in the 49th minute. Salah Basha stole the spotlight with an outstanding goal when he received a pass in the Saudi penalty area, juggled the ball in the air and then volleyed low past the Saudi keeper to silence the partisan crowd.

The teams remained tied by the end of ninety minutes then played through extra time without a winner emerging, leaving penalty kicks to decide who would win the competition. While Saudi Arabia finished all of their spot kicks without missing it was Egypt and Arab Contractors center back Omar Fayed who put his effort off the post and out to make the difference, allowing the hosts to clinch victory.

Highlights including the penalty shootout are below.