At the end of a mediocre but emotionally intense football game, Senegal got their ticket to the third World Cup in their history. After winning the CAN last February, the Teranga Lions, executioners of Egypt on Tuesday, further assert themselves as the team that will be in the World Cup in Qatar.
The queue in front of the brand new Abdoulaye-Wade stadium, which emerged from the ground just a month ago, at nine in the morning, proved something: all of Senegal was behind its team. AND his selection did not disappoint. After the defeat (1-0) in the first leg, in Egypt, the Teranga Lions had to recover and show their claws. To show the way forward: the inevitable Sadio Mané. As on February 6, it was he who led his teammates to success. The one who had raised the country on the roof of Africa, snatched the ticket to Qatar where his people will live the third World Cup in its history after 2002 and 2018. Very nice, Sadio. Whether in the game, since it is he who executes the free kick that brings the goal (4me) that allows to erase the delay of the first leg, or in the spirit, the Liverpool player has still magnificently put on the suit of manager of your team. Obviously, it was at the time of transforming the shot on goal in qualifying that he did not collapse and he assumed the role of boss of him, and as in Yaoundé, he did not tremble.
The pharaohs blinded
The contrast with Mohamed Salah was quite striking. His partner on the banks of the Mersey may be paying for Carlos Queiroz’s tactics this Tuesday, namely: defend, break the rhythm, gain time. Which, in effect, does not allow Salah to take full advantage of his qualities. In this possible tough match (55 fouls in total), he did not weigh enough. When it came time for the penalty shootout, he believed he had learned the lesson of failure in Cameroon, where he had been unable to influence the session, wanting to shoot fifth. This time, it was the first time that he rushed. It may not be the best idea since we found his ball in the stands. Admittedly, the multitude of green lasers directed at him as well as all of his teammates didn’t help. Their goalkeeper El-Shenawy had the equivalent of a Jean-Michel Jarre show on his retina for 120 minutes, he was still able to come out with great parades, including a shot on goal.
Mohamed Salah before missing a penalty against Senegal. pic.twitter.com/szlmfxDJkN
— ESPNFC (@ESPNFC) March 29, 2022
But the success of Senegal is not summed up in the failure of the Egyptian star, nor in the great form of Mané. Aliou Cissé, sometimes criticized for the poverty of the game offered despite the manpower at his disposal, seems to have taken the measure of the group from him. A star, world-class executives such as Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Coulibaly and Idrissa Gueye, as well as a young generation that always contributes something when they have playing time, in short, a coherent and balanced team. You only have to look at the tackles by Bamba Dieng and Pape Gueye from Marseille to see for yourself: the Senegalese could be dangerous during the 90 minutes in Qatar. And even more so, as we have seen since the beginning of the year.
The drama of these dams
Anyone taking a shot at Senegal on Friday, possibly in Pot 2, will be in trouble as it takes a lot to shock the Teranga Lions. Intense matches don’t scare them, as we saw Tuesday night, and technically they have the quality to compete with just about anyone. Not necessarily an ode to polished football, this match against Egypt had the merit of shaking two peoples. And more generally, these dams in Africa make anyone cringe, while most Europeans don’t even have time to be afraid of qualifying for the World Cup. We would have preferred to experience this type of meeting, explosive and committed between the great nations of African football, in the qualifying phase of the World Cup in Qatar, next autumn. Although, in Doha, it is difficult to see so many lasers.
By Leo Mob