African football fans Friday expressed joy after Senegal’s Lions of Teranga made their mark at the 2022 FIFA World Cup by collecting their first three points and knocking the host nation Qatar out of contention of advancing to the next stage of the global tournament.
Football experts say victory by the West African nation ensured that the Lions of Teranga have an opportunity to proceed to the next stage of the global tournament, despite them being in third place of Group A.
Aliou Cisse, the West African nation’s head coach said his team will go back to the drawing board to ensure victory in their final group match against second placed Ecuador so they can advance to the round of 16.
“We have to think about the appropriate approach to the last match,” said Cisse, adding, “we need to win to have a chance to qualify for the last 16.”
Tarek Salman, Qatar’s 24-year-old midfielder who came on as a substitute in the second half of the match against the Lions of Teranga, expressed disappointment in his team’s World Cup performance and pleaded for forgiveness from fans.
“We would like to say we’re very sorry to the supporters and to the country,” said Salman.
“We have made them feel bad about losing two games in a row at the World Cup,” Salman said at a post match conference.
Senegalese forward Boulaye Dia broke the deadlock in the 41st minute after he capitalized on a mistake by Boualem Khoukhi, Qatar’s center-back, who lost his footing attempting to clear his lines and granted the 26-year-old forward an opportunity to bury the ball past Meshaal Barsham, the Qatari’s goalkeeper.
More action came for the Lions of Teranga in the second half after left back Ismail Jakobs assisted Famara Diedhiou who headed the ball over Barsham into the far top corner, making it 2-0 for the West African nation.
The host nation responded in the 78th minute after forward Mohammed Muntari beat defender Kalidou Koulibaly and headed the ball into the far post and past goalkeeper Édouard Mendy.
Senegalese forward Bamba Dieng, who came on as a substitute four minutes before the Qatari’s scored their first goal was responsible for shattering the host nation’s dreams of advancing to the round of 16 after he drove a shot home past Barsham and scored the final goal of the match.
Football experts say it is now do or die for the Senegalese as they must win against Ecuador on November 29, to ensure advancing to the round of 16.
First placed Netherlands will play Qatar on the same day and if they emerge victorious will be headed to the round of 16 alongside whoever is victorious in the match between Senegal and Ecuador.