Senegal got their first win of the 2022 World Cup as the Lions of Teranga defeated Qatar 3-1 in Group A at the Al Thumama Stadium to leave the hosts on the brink of elimination.
Qatar’s exit was confirmed following the Netherlands’ draw against Ecuador in the other Group A match – the first time a host nation will have been knocked out after just two games in the tournament’s history.
The Africa Cup of Nations champions were by far the better team in the first period, and their play was rewarded four minutes before the break, as Boulaye Dia capitalised on a defensive error from Qatar’s Boualem Khoukhi to slot the ball past Meshaal Barsham to give his nation the lead.
Then, three minutes after the restart, Aliou Cisse’s side doubled their advantage. Famara Diedhiou reacted quickest at the near post to head in Ismail Jakobs’ corner.
Qatar then got a goal back 12 minutes from time to score their first of the tournament, as substitute Mohammed Muntari headed in Ismail Mohammad’s cross from the right.
However, Senegal sealed the victory in the 84th minute, as Iliman Ndiaye’s cut-back into the centre of the box was well finished by Bamba Dieng.
TALKING POINT – SENEGAL OFF THE MARK, QATAR OUT
Senegal have got their World Cup campaign up and running with this victory, but they still face a tall order to qualify for the next round. Their next and final group game against Ecuador next Tuesday will be critical. The good news for Senegal, though, is that they produced an improved performance today, and can take that into the next game.
As for Qatar, their dreams of making history and getting out of the group at their home World Cup are over after another defeat. During the first half, it was as if Felix Sanchez’s side had learnt nothing from how they played against Ecuador, as they were once again very passive. However, in the second half, we saw glimpses of what they are capable of, and they managed to finally get a long-awaited goal at their home tournament.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – FAMARA DIEDHIOU
The 29-year-old centre forward for Senegal proved to be a real handful for the Qatar defence to deal with, and his play was rewarded with a superbly taken header at the start of the second half to put his country two goals to the good.
Diedhiou has had his issues with injury this season for Alanyaspor in Turkey, and the former Bristol City striker will be delighted to score his first World Cup goal for his country, after previously scoring four for Senegal during qualifying.
In total, Diedhiou won four aerial duels, the most of any player on the pitch.
Qatar: Barsham 5, Mohammad , Miguel 6, Khoukhi 5, Hassan 6, Ahmed 6, Madibo 6, Al Haydos 6, Boudiaf 5, Ali 6, Afif 6. Subs: Waad 6, Salman 6, Muntari 7, Hatem 6.
Senegal: E. Mendy 7, Jakobs 7, Diallo 6, Koulibaly 6, Sabaly 7, Diatta 6, I. Gueye 7, N. Mendy 6, I. Sarr 7, Diedhiou 7, Dia 7. Subs: Cisse 6, Ciss 6, Dieng 6, P. Sarr 6, I. Ndiaye 7.
33’ – PENALTY NOT GIVEN! – Afif is played in on the edge of the box. He’s trying to open an angle for a shot when he is taken down by Sarr. The hosts are angry, but Antonio Lahoz shakes his head and does not award the spot-kick. It does not even look like the incident was reviewed by VAR! It looked a penalty.
41’ – GOAL! (Boulaye Dia) – The Lions of Teranga take the lead just before the break! It all emanates from a Qatar mistake, and it is poor defending! A low ball comes into the area which Khoukhi fails to clear! He loses his footing and it bounces up off his hip into the path of Dia, who lashes it home into the near corner.
48’ – GOAL! (Famara Diedhiou) – Diedhiou – formerly of Bristol City – gets on the scoresheet to double Senegal’s lead! Jakobs whips in an inswinging corner from the right, and Diedhiou brilliantly makes the run towards the near post to peel off his man, and he flicks his header over Barsham and into the far top corner!
78’ – GOAL! (Mohammed Muntari) – The first goal for the Qataris in the World Cup! It’s the substitute Mohammed Muntari! A cross-field ball from defence is played out to Mohammad on the right. He delivers in a sensational cross for Muntari, and he places a brilliant header past Mendy! Game on?
84’ – GOAL! (Bamba Dieng) – A brilliant finish and Senegal have their third! It’s Bamba Dieng! Ndiaye cuts the ball back from the right-side of the box, and Dieng finishes it well into the far corner. Surely that is that!