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World Cup

Qatar 1-3 Senegal: Mendy banishes the blues, Cisse gets it right

20:45 GMT+4 25/11/2022
Cisse Muntari Mendy
GOAL’s Ed Dove picks out the winners and losers as Senegal get their World Cup campaign off the ground
  • Senegal

    Qatar 1-3 Senegal

    Senegal secured Africa’s first victory at the 2022 World Cup by defeating hosts Qatar 3-1 in Doha on Friday to kick-start their own campaign.

    After an opening 2-0 defeat by the Netherlands, the African champions were up against it, but despite a late rally by the hosts, they saw out a 3-1 triumph to boost their chances of progress.

    The Teranga Lions will now meet Ecuador in their final group game on Tuesday.

  • Senegal coach Aliou Cisse

    Winner: Aliou Cisse

    The Senegal coach switched up the Teranga Lions’ approach ahead of this match, introducing a pair of strikers—Boulaye Dia and Famara Diedhiou—while dropping Cheikhou Kouyate from the midfield.

    It was an adventurous step by the head coach, as he assessed his options in light of weaker opposition and after the opening defeat by the Dutch.

    It also gave the Lions much more of a cutting edge than they’d had in their opener, and after netting three goals, Senegal might finally be helping their fans get over the loss of Sadio Mane.

  • DF_Boualem Khoukhi

    Loser: Boualem Khoukhi

    The villain of the piece from a Qatari point of view was defender Khoukhi, whose grotesque fumbling error in the box allowed Boulaye Dia in to score Senegal’s opener.

    The centre-back was born in Algeria, and could have even represented the North Africans, only for his career to take another direction when he moved to Al Arabi in 2009.

    The ex-attacker used to play alongside Islam Slimani during his youth career in Algerian football, but has since massed up a decade of performance—and 100 caps—for Qatar.

    A bad day all round for the 32-year-old.

  • Edouard Mendy Senegal

    Winner: Edouard Mendy

    Mendy came under some criticism after his error against the Dutch allowed Cody Gakpo in to open the scoring for the Netherlands, but he responded in style against Qatar.

    One save was particularly outstanding, as he turned Ismail Mohamad’s effort around his post from point blank range, although the Chelsea man had earlier been called into action to deny Almoez Ali’s effort from distance.

    The keeper’s recent form has been scrutinised after his struggles at Stamford Bridge, but he played a pivotal part in Senegal’s success here, and should take major encouragement from this return to form.

  • Muntari World Cup 2022

    Loser: Mohammed Muntari

    Kumasi-born Muntari made history at the World Cup, as he became the first ever Qatar player to score in the tournament.

    His goal was a fine headed effort, well taken by the striker, who could have represented Ghana, although it ultimately came to naught for the hosts.

    Qatar and Muntari are facing up to an early elimination, as they become the first hosts to lost both of their opening matches, but at least the 28-year-old wrote his little slice of history.

  • Boulaye Dia

    Winner: Senegal’s strikers

    Both Diedhiou and Dia have come in for criticism in recent years, with neither taking opportunities to establish themselves as the Lions’ leading man.

    Dia had the opportunity against the Netherlands, but struggled to impose himself, although he was on song here, opening the scoring after capitalising on Khoukhi’s error.

    Encouragingly for Cisse, ex-Bristol City man Diedhiou came off the bench to add another for Senegal—a fine header to deflate Qatar—before substitute Bamba Dieng restored the West Africa’s two-goal advantage.

    He’s yet another striking option who should be brimming with confidence after opening his World Cup account, and the Lions suddenly look to have plenty of attacking options.