In the end it wasn’t to be for West Bromwich Albion, as they fell just short of a place in the play-off final following a 4-3 penalty shootout defeat to local rivals Aston Villa on Tuesday night.
Trailing 2-1 from the first leg, The Baggies gave themselves hope of a trip to Wembley when Craig Dawson headed home from Mason Holgate’s throw in to give West Brom the lead on the night and level the tie on aggregate.
Though they dominated much of the 90 minutes, James Shan’s side were unable to make the breakthrough, and when captain Chris Brunt was sent off with just ten minutes of regular time remaining, the momentum switched dramatically.
Though Villa pushed for a winner for the rest of regular and extra time, West Brom defended valiantly to take the game to penalties, though with a number of attacking off the pitch due to injury or suspension, it fell to the defenders to step up to the spot. But after Villa goalkeeper Jed Steer denied Mason Holgate and Ahmed Hegazi with West Brom’s first two penalties, Tammy Abraham converted the final penalty to send Villa to Wembley.
That Hegazi was one of those to miss from the spot seems particularly cruel on a player who contributed so much to keeping The Baggies in the tie for so long, having produced a colossal defensive display to help keep Villa out.
Here, we take a look at Hegazi’s performance over the course of the 120 minutes on Tuesday night.
Looking at Hegazi’s stats from Tuesday night’s encounter, it is clear to see the size of the Egyptian’s contribution to the West Brom cause last night.
Hegazi made eight tackles over the course of the 120 minutes, at least three more than any other player from either side, with no player from either side blocking more shots than Hegazi’s three.
Only two players in West Brom shirts: Mason Holgate and goalkeeper Sam Johnstone made more passes than Hegazi, while only Kyle Bartley made more clearances for The Baggies.
It may not have been enough to get Hegazi and West Brom to Wembley and a play-off final, but the centre back can hold his head high for his efforts.
West Brom will once again be one the of the sides expected to challenge for a return to the Premier League next season, and some more performances like this from Hegazi will go a long way to helping them achieve that aim.