Saudi Arabia and Egypt only had pride to play for as they took to the 2018 World Cup stage for the final time, but the former is the one going home with some points.
Salem Al Dawsari's close-range volley in the 95th minute broke a 1-1 deadlock and gave the Saudis their first World Cup win since 1994, sending Egypt home empty-handed. It was the eighth goal at this World Cup that has come in the 89th minute or later, continuing a trend of late drama.
Both sides had already been eliminated from knockout-stage contention after losses to host Russia and Uruguay, but that didn't take away from their motivation to win.
Saudi Arabia entered the match in Volgograd having yet to score in the competition after a 5-0 loss to Russia and a 1-0 setback vs. Uruguay. Egypt, meanwhile, has scored once, in a 3-1 loss to Uruguay on a goal from Mohamed Salah. The Liverpool star made headlines Sunday when CNN reported he's mulling international retirement after his involvement with Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, and he looked to change the narrative surrounding him during Monday's match, in which he scored the opener by lobbing the goalkeeper. Also in the lineup for Egypt was 45-year-old goalkeeper Essam Al Hadary, who became the oldest player to ever play in a World Cup and saved a penalty kick before conceding on a second one just before halftime.
Saudi Arabia tried to test Al Hadary early, with Hussain Al Mogahwi attempting a speculative chance from distance in the third minute, but it hooked well wide of the goal.
Saudi Arabia looked like the more fluid of the two in the attack, earning an eighth-minute corner kick off a smooth build-up, but Egypt cleared to safety, keeping it 0-0 in a match that played with the pace of a friendly at the start.
Saudi Arabia continued to push through Al Dawsari, who completed a run from his own half to the edge of the Egypt box before uncorking a right-footed blast that flew over Al Hadary's crossbar.
Salah scored on Egypt's first real opportunity in the 21st minute. Saudi Arabia turned the ball over in the midfield, with the ball played over the top by Abdalla El Said to Salah. He took it down in between two defenders and then lobbed the goalkeeper with his next touch from 18 yards, giving Egypt the 1-0 lead.
Salah should have had a second moments later, as he got in behind the defense, onside, on a breakaway and had only the goalkeeper to beat. He opted for another chip, instead of just going low and picking out a corner, pushing his unmarked chance wide of the frame.
Saudi Arabia earned a penalty kick right before halftime, with Ahmed Fathy called for a handball at the edge of the box, but El Hadary came to the rescue, making an incredible diving save on Fahad Al Muwallad's spot kick and tipping it off the crossbar.
The Saudis got another chance from the spot in stoppage time on a questionable foul call on Ali Gabr, though, and they converted. A lengthy VAR review upheld the initial call, and El Hadary was beaten this time by Salman Al Faraj, making the score 1-1 going into halftime.
Saudi Arabia came out the more aggressive of the two sides in the second half and nearly took the lead nine minutes in. Ahmed Hegazi elected to try and clear a cross when El Hadary could have caught it, and it fell for Hattan Babhir, who whipped in a right-footed volley that flew over the bar in the 54th minute.
Egypt bounced back and nearly scored two minutes later, when Trezeguet did all of the work except the finish, making a smart run and steering a powerful header toward goal, only to put it wide of the far post.
El Hadary was called into action on a couple of occasions before the 70-minute mark, with Saudi Arabia pushing for a go-ahead strike, but the 45-year-old was up to the task.
Just when it appeared the teams would settle for the draw, Al Dawsari struck. A cross fell to him to the right of the goal at an accute angle, but he tucked his volley by El Hadary for the stoppage-time winner, sending Saudi Arabia home with a nice parting gift.
For Group A's other match check out the highlights from from Uruguay's 3-0 win over 10-man Russia here.
Here were the lineups for both teams:
Here are the rosters for both sides:
Goalkeepers: Mohammed Al-Owais (Al Ahli), Yasser Al Mosailem (Al Ahli), Abdullah Al-Mayouf (Al Hilal)
Defenders: Mansoor Al-Harbi (Al Ahli), Yasser Al-Shahrani (Al Hilal) Mohammed Al-Breik (Al HIlal), Motaz Hawsawi (Al Ahli), Osama Hawsawi (Al Hilal), Omar Hawsawi (Al Nassr), Ali Al-Bulaihi (Al Hilal)
Midfielders: Abdullah Al-Khaibari (Al Shabab), Abdulmalek Al-Khaibri (Al Hilal), Abdullah Otayf (Al Hilal), Taiseer Al-Jassim (Al Ahli), Houssain Al-Mogahwi (Al Ahli), Salman Al-Faraj (Al Hilal), Mohamed Kanno (Al Hilal), Hattan Bahebri (Al Shabab), Salem Al-Dawsari (Al Hilal), Yahya Al-Shehri (Al Nassr)
Forwards: Fahad Al-Muwallad (Al Ittihad), Mohammad Al-Sahlawi (Al Nassr), Muhannad Assiri (Al Ahli)
Manager: Juan Antonio Pizzi
Goalkeepers: Essam El Hadary (Al Taawoun), Mohamed El-Shennawy (Al Ahly), Sherif Ekramy (Al Ahly)
Defenders: Ahmed Fathi (Al Ahly), Saad Samir (Al Ahly), Ayman Ashraf (Al Ahly), Mahmoud Hamdy (Zamalek), Mohamed Abdel-Shafy (Al Fateh), Ahmed Hegazi (West Brom), Ali Gabr (Zamalek), Ahmed Elmohamady (Aston Villa), Omar Gaber (Los Angeles FC)
Midfielders: Tarek Hamed, (Zamalek), Shikabala (Zamalek), Abdallah Said (Al Ahli), Sam Morsy (Wigan Athletic), Mohamed Elneny (Arsenal), Mahmoud Kahraba (Al Ittihad), Ramadan Sobhi (Stoke City), Mahmoud Hassan (Kasimpasa), Amr Warda (Atromitos Athens)
Forwards: Marwan Mohsen (Al Ahly), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Manager: Hector Cuper