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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Mane Breaks Egypt Hearts Again As Senegal Win Scrappy Shootout To Reach 2022 World Cup

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Senegal overcame Egypt on penalties for the second time in two months to book their spot at the 2022 World Cup as Sadio Mane piled more heartbreak on Liverpool teamate Mohamed Salah.

In a tantalising repeat of February’s Africa Cup of Nations final, it took a shootout to separate the two sides after a cagey second leg in Diamniadio. Remarkably, each of the first four penalties were missed with Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly hitting the bar and Salah blazing over. However, Mane made no mistake from 12 yards to ensure his country will be represented in Qatar, having also scored the winning penalty in the AFCON final.

The Pharaohs watched their 1-0 aggregate lead from last Friday’s first leg in Cairo evaporate just four minutes into the match as Boulaye Dia’s shot deflected off Hamdi Fathi and trickled the over the line following a set piece. Egypt were forced into two substitutions in the first half of the ill-tempered affair with Rami Rabia and Omar Gaber withdrawn from the action. Senegal were by far the more threatening side throughout the tie and Mane got in behind the visitors’ defence only to be penalised for a handball.

Salah, meanwhile, was kept largely quiet but produced a sublime in-swinging delivery in the second half which substitute Zizo steered wide. At the other end, Idrissa Gana Gueye fired narrowly over with a free kick and Watford forward Ismaila Sarr was especially threatening. Senegal maintained their domination in extra time but none of the 25 shots they recorded in the match could break the stubborn resistance posed by Pharaohs goalkeeper Mohammed El Shenawy.

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