Senegal got their first three points of the World Cup as they left Qatar on the brink of elimination after they became the first host nation to lose multiple group stage matches at a World Cup. Qatar showed a good spell for about fifteen minutes in the second half but Senegal looked in control throughout and will now hope to go onto claim their place in the knockout stages.
Qatar became the first host nation ever to lose their opening game when they lost to Ecuador on Sunday night two nil. They were looking to bounce back and made just two changes coming into this match as they stuck with the 5-3-2 formation but made a couple of personal changes. Al Sheeb in goal was replaced by Barsham after his awful performance on Sunday as well as Madibo coming in for Hatem in the midfield.
It was also a losing start for Senegal who held Holland for so long of the match but then threw it away in the last six minutes to end up losing two nil as well. Unlike Qatar, Senegal opted for a formation change going to a 4-4-2 while making two changes to the starting 11 to the side which were beaten by the Dutch. Cisse and Kouyate were the ones to make way as Jakobs and Diedhiou came in to fill their places and to aid the formation change.
The opening exchanges were well contested from both sides but it was clear to tell that there was a lot on the line with the potential loser facing elimination from the World Cup completely. Gueye had the best opportunity of the first half an hour as he burst through the Qatar midfield and struck the ball hard and low as it arrowed just wide of the far post. As the half went on, Senegal gradually started to take control as Qatar had no answer for their long balls forward to the front two partnership of Dia and Diedhiou.
Qatar had a penalty appeal just after the half hour which was turned down by the referee as Afif got into the penalty area and was taken down by Sarr. It was very clumsy from the Watford winger as he came across the Qatar striker and didn’t win any of the ball but the referee and VAR were having none of it. I have seen them given and if it was given on the field then there wouldn’t have been clear evidence to overturn it and you can understand why Qatar were up in arms about it.
Just five minutes from half time Senegal got their deserved lead as a loose pass was poorly dealt with by Khoukhi at the back for Qatar. The defender feel over as he went to clear the ball gifted the ball to Dia who stroked the ball past Barsham to give the Senegalese their deserved one goal lead. Senegal went into the break ahead with Qatar still searching for their first shot on target of the tournament.
Just three minutes into the second half, Senegal doubled their lead as Jakobs whipped in an out-swinging corner to the front post. It was met by the former Bristol City striker Diedhiou who flicked it beautifully across the goal to hit the back of the net and all but condemn Qatar to their World Cup exit.
Qatar created a couple of chances as Abdulla struck the ball low and hard from just inside the penalty area which Mendy tipped around the post. It ended their long wait for a shot on target just after the hour mark. Just before Abdulla’s chance, Fadlalla struck the ball from about thirty yards out just wide of the post as Qatar started to threaten.
They should’ve only been one goal behind minutes later as a lovely ball was floated into the box from the left-hand side and Mohammad got on the end of it. He missed the ball with his head but it was going goal wards off his knee but Mendy pulled off a terrific save to keep his clean sheet intact and turned it around the post.
The pressure finally told with just twelve minutes to go as Qatar got their first ever World Cup goal. A wonderful cross field pass from Fadlalla to Mohammad who was in an advanced position on the right wing. He crossed the ball brilliantly into Muntari, who had just on off the bench, who headed home past Mendy who couldn’t do anything to stop that one.
However, as Qatar came forward pushing for an equaliser, they left themselves exposed and open at the back which was punished by Senegal as they made it 1-3. They worked the ball nicely down the right-hand side as Ndiaye played the ball across to Dieng who slotted it coolly into the bottom corner to secure all three points for the Senegalese.
That’s how the game finished with Senegal rightly running out winners in the end but if Qatar had played with the same energy and determination as they had for the fifteen minutes after they went two nil down it would’ve been a different story. However, Senegal looked in control throughout and deservedly got all three points.
Dependent on the result of the other game in Group A will determine what outcome Senegal need to qualify through but they will be strong favourites to go to the knockout stages. As for Qatar, the hosts will be eliminated tonight if Holland avoid defeat in their second group stage match against Ecuador.