Senegal showed their worth at the 2022 FIFA World Cup with an impressive 3-1 win over hosts Qatar in their Group A clash. The Teranga Lions won the battle of the continental champions to remain firmly in the running for a knockout place.
After losing their opening games to Netherlands and Ecuador respectively, African champions Senegal and Asian champions Qatar faced a must-win encounter at the Al Thumama Stadium. The hosts were also aiming to avoid an early elimination from the tournament.
Qatar gave a good account of themselves in the opening exchanges against Senegal but failed to trouble the Africans’ backline. The Teranga Lions, meanwhile, showed better endeavour going forward than they did against the Netherlands.
With half-time approaching, Senegal took the lead courtesy of a defensive mishap. A botched clearance from a Qatari defender allowed Boulaye Dia to fire home from inside the box in the 41st minute of the encounter to give the African champions the lead.
Senegal repeated the trick three minutes into the second half through Famara Diedhou. The forward ghosted to the near post before glancing home a corner from Ismail Jakobs to double the Teranga Lions’ advantage.
Qatar got on the offensive after they had conceded twice and striker Al-Moez Ali called Edouard Mendy into action twice. First, the Chelsea goalkeeper had to get down smartly to palm an effort from the edge of the box out for a corner. The second save was even more impressive as Mendy showed brilliant reflexes to claw Ali’s effort from point-blank range past the upright.
The Asian champions were finally rewarded for their persistence in the 78th minute as Ghana-born striker Mohammed Muntari scored with a towering header to send the stadium into raptures.
The joy was short-lived for the Qatari team as Senegal restored their two-goal advantage six minutes later after industrious play from Iliman Ndiaye. The Sheffield United man dribbled past four players before exchanging passes with his teammate and sending in a low cross for Bamba Dieng to convert.
With their defeat to Senegal, Qatar became the first host nation to lose multiple group-stage games. They will be eliminated from the tournament if Netherlands avoids defeat to Ecuador in the other group game.