Tuesday Mar 29, 2022. 22:11
Senegal qualified for the 2022 World Cup courtesy of a 3-1 victory over Egypt on penalties in the second leg of their playoff tie at the Stade Me Abdoulaye Wade on Tuesday night.
Boulaye Dia broke the deadlock after just four minutes to level things up after the Pharaohs had won the first leg 1-0 in Cairo. It ended 1-0 after extra time and Sadio Mane scored the decisive penalty in a repeat of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final.
Spurred on by a raucous home crowd, the Lions of Teranga bossed proceedings in the first half as Egypt barely posed an attacking threat.
The hosts needed a goal to keep their hopes alive and they got off to a flyer when Dia poked home from close range in the fourth minute after Idrissa Gueye’s free-kick from the right caused problems inside the box.
The North Africans managed just one attempt at goal before half-time, with Mohamed Elneny hitting a first-time volley over the crossbar from outside the area on 14 minutes after the ball was only half cleared by the defence.
Gueye was afforded time and space on 28 minutes to line up a shot from distance on the left that was parried away from danger by Mohamed El Shenawy, who made a more comfortable save four minutes later from Ismaïla Sarr’s tame effort on the edge of the box.
Nampalys Mendy was just inches away from doubling his team’s lead three minutes before the break with a strike from range that drifted beyond the right post.
The West Africans had less joy in the final third in the second half, with their first chance seeing Gueye curl a free-kick over the bar from 20 yards out on 66 minutes.
Zizo was looking to make an impact for the visitors after being introduced from the bench and he nearly equalised in the 71st minute with a looping header that went narrowly past the right post with Edouard Mendy rooted to the spot.
The substitute failed to test Mendy again five minutes later when he did well to get past two players on the left before firing wide of the near post from an angle.
Ismaïla Sarr should have settled the contest on 82 minutes after being played in on goal by Mane, but the Watford winger curled his shot wide of the right post from 12 yards out with just El Shenawy to beat.
Sarr showed good skill in the second minute of stoppage time to shake off his marker and deliver a cross to the back post, where Pape Cisse rose to steer a header wide.
Extra time followed and Senegal created a handful of chances early on, with El Shenawy having to keep out headers from Sarr, Cisse and Dieng in the space of two minutes before the Hornets attacker drew another save out of the Egyptian goalkeeper at close range on 95 minutes.
El Shenawy came to the Pharaohs’ rescue again just before the switch to deny Cisse twice in quick succession at close range as the Lions of Teranga pushed for the deciding goal.
With no further goals forthcoming, a shootout ensued and after Kalidou Koulibaly, Salah, Saliou Ciss, Zizo and Mostafa Mohamed all failed to convert their spot-kicks, Mane once again held his nerve from 12 yards out to book Senegal’s ticket to Qatar 2022.
Senegal (1) 0 (Dia 4′)
Egypt (0) 0
Senegal: E. Mendy, Y. Sabaly, P. Cisse, K. Koulibaly, S. Ciss, B. Sarr (B. Dieng 68′), N. Mendy (C. Kouyate 81′), I. Gueye (P. Sarr 114′), S. Mane, B. Dia (P. Gueye 81′), I. Sarr.
Egypt: M. El Shenawy, R. Rabia (E. Ashour 36′), O. Gaber (A. Ashraf 29′), Y. Ibrahim, A. El Fotouh, H. Fathi (M. Alaa 118′), M. Elneny (N. Emad 70′), A. El Soleya, O. Marmoush (M. Mohamed 70′), M. Salah, Trezeguet (Zizo 70′).