Mohamed Salah's hat trick has Bob Bradley-coached Egypt on the cusp of the final qualifying round following a 4-2 victory in Zimbabwe.
Mohamed Salah's hat trick lifted Egypt to a 4-2 victory over Zimbabwe Sunday, as the Pharaohs remained perfect in their qualifying group, improving to 4-0-0. If Guinea does not beat Mozambique later on Sunday, then Egypt will have cemented their place in the final, 10-team qualifying round where five head-to-head aggregate matchups determine Africa's five entrants in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Mohamed Aboutrika opened the scoring in the fifth minute, but host Zimbabwe equalized through FC Augsburg's Knowledge Musona in the 21st minute.
Salah, who stars for FC Basel, scored the first of his three just minutes before halftime to break the deadlock, and he added a second in the 76th minute to put Egypt on its way to victory.
Zimbabwe sliced the deficit back to one through Khama Billiat's 82nd-minute goal, but Salah responded in kind, finishing off his hat trick three minutes later to ice the victory. If Guinea does prevent Bradley's Egypt from clinching its place in the final round on Sunday, the Pharaohs can take matters into their own hands next Sunday against Mozambique. The final group game for the former USA manager's side is slated for Sept. 5 against Guinea.