ATAt the end of a match that kept all its promises, Senegal once again overcame Egypt, on penalties. The African champion will be there for the 2022 World Cup, after a match that will go down in the annals of African football. Senegal-Egypt has become a real classic and we are witnessing a budding rivalry between the countries of Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah. The Lions of Senegal are gradually breaking all the signs that historically stuck to them to become a real winning team.
READ ALSOSenegal eliminates Egypt in a heated atmosphere
An entry into power of the Lions!
For the premiere of the Lions at the Abdoulaye-Wade stadium, the Senegalese mobilization was worthy of the name. From the early hours of the morning, the supporters were present around the stadium, which filled up very quickly, well before the start of the match. This special atmosphere totally contaminated the Lions, who knew from the outset to impose an exceptional intensity to asphyxiate the Egyptians, literally taken by the throat. This successful start was quickly materialized by the opener signed Boulaye Dia, who became the first scorer in the history of the Lions in the new stadium in Senegal. The debauchery was such that the Lions at times confused speed, intensity and haste, showed impatience, too eager to bend the meeting quickly. This resulted in a clearly dominated first half, but with some inaccuracies and poorly prepared phases of play, allowing the Pharaohs, who successively lost defenders Omar Gaber (29and) and Rami Rabia (36and) on injuries, to return to the locker room with only one goal behind. Consequently, a result far from being catastrophic for Carlos Queiroz’s men given the balance of power between the two teams.
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Egypt level up in the second half and hang on to extra time
Once the storm passed, Egypt, as they have always done during the African Cup of Nations, managed to enter their game and gain confidence minute by minute. The entries of Zizo, Mostapha and Emad at the 70and minute will precede an Egyptian high point during which the first player mentioned will get two superb chances to score this goal away from home, narrowly missed. Senegal, warned, will secure their camp until the end of regulation time with in particular the entries of Kouyaté and Pape Gueye to strengthen the midfield in response to the changes of Carlos Queiroz. However, a missed face-to-face from Ismaïla Sarr could suggest that Senegal had missed their best chance and that Egypt had left to succeed in their attempt to bring the Lions to the end of the meeting.
The extension will start again with the Lions who will get several big chances, including a huge one from Ismaïla Sarr once again. The Al Ahly goalkeeper El Shenawy, excellent, responded present in his cage and will secure his camp until the end of regulation time. However, once again, Egypt will not manage to succeed and lose a second time in a row on penalties, with in particular missed penalties from Mohamed Salah and Ahmed Sayed Zizo, the two best shooters of the Pharaohs . Senegal, once again on penalties, overcame their opponent, who nevertheless made it one of his favorite exercises.
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Heading for bigger challenges
Aliou Cissé had already spoken about it before the first leg, Sadio Mané also in his interview with France Soccer : the World Cup is a dream. As Senegal rises to an unparalleled level of hope, no limits should be set, the World Cup must now become a real goal. The triple confrontation against the Egyptian team allowed them to grow before our eyes and take on a new dimension. While it already had the status of the best African team in the CAF ranking, it doubled confirmed with the final victory at the CAN and, now, a qualification for the World Cup. The rest is a bonus for Aliou Cissé, who has largely fulfilled the objectives assigned to him. It is now a question of representing the African continent with dignity and definitely entering the history of its football. With a post-CAN 2019 team that has really emerged in recent months, consolidation work must be done in the coming months in order to present the most competitive squad possible for the World Cup.
For its part, Egypt leaves for a new managerial change, after Carlos Queiroz announced his departure immediately after the meeting. “The results dictate the ranking of the best, so if he (Aliou Cissé) won two finals against me, I have no problem saying that he was better. But he was seven years old; I had six months. Six months in which he finished 4and of the Arab Cup, CAN finalist and eliminated on penalties from the World Cup play-offs, thus opposing him to the new African champion. Although the proposed game is widely criticized, Queiroz had the merit of getting the Pharaohs out of the indifference they were beginning to arouse in recent years. He therefore leaves the selection in a good situation for his future successor in view of the next deadlines.
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