History-making El-Hadary apologizes to Egypt fans after World Cup exit

It was a day of mixed emotions for Egypt's Essam El-Hadary when he played against Saudi Arabia. (Reuters)
Updated 26 June 2018
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History-making El-Hadary apologizes to Egypt fans after World Cup exit

  • Essam El-Hadary, 45, breaks record of Faryd Mondragón
  • 'This is a great achievement for Egypt more than for me personally'

LONDON: Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary described marking his history-making World Cup debut by saving a penalty as “an honor” and “an achievement for all Egyptians.”
El-Hadary, 45, was picked by coach Hector Cuper for the game with Saudi Arabia so he could become the oldest player to play at the finals, being two years and 158 days older than previous record holder Faryd Mondragón, the Colombian.
And El-Hadary showed he was not just picked for sentimental reasons by saving Fahad Al-Muwallad’s first-half penalty, diving to his right and flicking out his left hand up to push the shot onto the bar before it was cleared.


Although he saved one penalty, the captain of Saudi Pro League side Al-Taawoun could not stop Saudi Arabia from winning 2-1 in a Group A game between two teams that had already been eliminated.
“I am very sorry for the fans, for everyone in Egypt,” El Hadary said. “I want to thank my teammates. It was a great honor for me to play. Thanks to God, this is a great achievement for Egypt more than for me personally. It’s an achievement for all Egyptians. That feat has now been crowned by me breaking the world record. What I accomplished in this tournament was the result of years of hard work, dedicated training and suffering that only a few know about.”
El-Hadary made his international duty in 1997 against Algeria and has gone on to win 159 caps, but this was his first World Cup.
“I’ve been the Pharaoh’s goalkeeper for years, including during the qualifiers for this Word Cup,” he said in an interview with the FIFA website. “Our efforts reaped fruit and we returned to the world stage after a 28-year absence. God helped me crown my football career with a participation in the World Cup. This in itself is an accomplishment. We must benefit from both the positive and negative aspects. There are many lessons to learn.”
Now feels like a neat way for El-Hadary to sign off his international career, but he said he will let the dust settle on an otherwise disappointing World Cup campaign before deciding whether to carry on.
“I will make my decision (about retirement) after the World Cup,” he said. “There will be many decisions concerning my long journey with this delightful game.”
Cuper could easily have picked Mohamed El-Shenawy for the third game in a row, especially with his job on the line, but he gauged the mood of the Egyptian people and opted for the people’s choice in goal.
“It is true that it was a special record today and many, many people in Egypt love him and support him,” Cuper said. “And he has played a great game.”


India rout Pakistan by eight wickets in Asia Cup clash

Updated 19 September 2018
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India rout Pakistan by eight wickets in Asia Cup clash

  • Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-15) and part time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav (3-23) sent Pakistan collapsing
  • Both Pakistan and India had already qualified for the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup and will meet again in Dubai on Sunday

DUBAI: India crushed Pakistan by eight wickets in their long-awaited Asia Cup match which failed to live up to its hype in Dubai on Wednesday.
Pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar (3-15) and part time off-spinner Kedar Jadhav (3-23) sent Pakistan, who won the toss and batted, collapsing to just 162 all out in 43.1 overs at Dubai Stadium.
Skipper Rohit Sharma then struck three sixes and six boundaries in his 39-ball 52 while fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan hit a six and six fours in his 54-ball 46 as India romped home in 29 overs.
Ambati Rayudu and Dinesh Karthik both finished on 31 not out as India exacted some revenge for their humbling 180-run defeat against their arch-rivals in the final of the Champions Trophy in London last year -- the most recent match between the teams until Wednesday.
Both Pakistan and India had already qualified for the Super Four stage of the Asia Cup and will meet again in Dubai on Sunday.
Bangladesh and Afghanistan meet in Abu Dhabi in the last Group B match on Thursday, having already qualified for the second round after Sri Lanka crashed out.
The top two teams from the Super Fours will play the final in Dubai on September 28.
Once Pakistan's unpredictable batting crumbled, Wednesday's match turned into a damp squib for a near-capacity crowd comprising of Indian and Pakistani expats living in the United Arab Emirates.
Kumar ran through the top order by dismissing openers Imam-ul-Haq (two) and Fakhar Zaman (nought) inside five overs, before Babar Azam (47) and Shoaib Malik (43) rebuilt the innings during their 82-run stand for the third wicket.
But after Azam was dismissed in the 22nd over, bowled by left-arm spinner Kuldeep Yadav, Pakistan lost their last seven wickets for 77 runs.
Azam hit six boundaries in his 62-ball knock while Malik, dropped on 26 by MS Dhoni off Hardik Pandya, cracked one six and one four in a vigilant innings which lasted 67 balls.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (six) became Jadhav's first wicket, holing out to long-on where substitute fielder Maneesh Pandey completed a brilliant catch, throwing the ball back into the field to avoid running over the rope and completing the catch.
But it was Malik's run out which derailed Pakistan, sent back by Asif Ali after setting off for a quick single.
Paceman Jasprit Bumrah took 2-23 but India lost all-rounder Hardik Pandya to injury.
Bowling his fifth over, Pandya fell in his follow through and was stretchered off with a lower back injury, the extent of which was being assessed by the India team's medical staff.