Sadio Mane breaks Egypt hearts again as Senegal win scrappy shootout to reach 2022 WC in Qatar

Sadio Mane breaks Egypt hearts again as Senegal win scrappy shootout to reach 2022 WC in Qatar By A Robin - March 30, 2022
Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane

Egypt's forward Mohamed Salah (L) vies for the ball against Senegal's forward Sadio Mane (R)

Senegal inflicted yet another penalty shootout defeat on Egypt as the African champions sealed their place at the World Cup 2022 on a dramatic night in Dakar.

Sadio Mane scored the winning penalty as Aliou Cisse's side emerged 3-1 winners on spot-kicks after his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah blazed his effort over the bar. However, it appeared a number of green lasers were directed on his face as he prepared his run-up.

It's the second time in just two months that the Lions of Teranga have triumphed over their great African rivals by virtue of a penalty shootout after securing their first Africa Cup of Nations title back in January.

Boulaye Dia's fourth-minute scrappy goal had given Senegal an early lead on the night as the hosts quickly restored parity in the tie following Friday's first leg 1-0 defeat to the Pharoahs. Despite their domination, however, Senegal failed to find the net again and couldn't prevent penalties.

Conceding so early had clearly incensed Egypt boss Carlos Queiroz and his pain was compounded as he was forced into making two first-half substitutions, losing defenders Rami Rabia and Omar Gabia to injury.

Senegal's relentless pressure faded after the restart as the visitors weathered the storm and finally settled into the contest, upping the ante in search of what would have been a crucial away goal. Substitute Ahmed Sayed twice went close, as first he headed over from Salah's cross and moments later shot wide from inside the box.

Into the last 10 minutes of normal time and with nerves frayed, Ismaila Sarr was released behind the Egypt defence by Mane's perfectly weighted pass but with just the goalkeeper to beat the Watford forward sent his shot wide of the far post as another huge chance went begging.

Egypt shot-stopper Mohamed El-Shenawy rose to the occasion in extra-time, pulling out several top-drawer saves as Senegal peppered the visitors' goal. He somehow repelled the misfiring Ismaila Sarr, who failed to score with the goal gaping and denied Pape Cisse on no fewer than three occasions.

Ultimately, however, the Al Ahly shot-stopper ended up on the losing side as Senegal deservedly claimed their place at Qatar this winter. None of the first four penalties were scored before Ismaila Sarr finally broke the deadlock. Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy then saved Mostafa Mohamed's weak effort before Mane delivered the decisive kick.

It's the third World Cup Senegal will be appearing in and for the first time they have qualified for back-to-back competitions.

By A Robin - March 30, 2022

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