The story repeats itself. On February 6, Sadio Mané allowed Senegal to lift the first African Cup of Nations in its history by scoring the last shot on goal in the final against Egypt. Almost two months later, the same Sadio Mané guided the Teranga Lions pack towards Qatar, converting another decisive shot on goal, again against the Egyptians, this time in the second leg of the qualifying play-offs for the Cup. of the world 2022.
On Wednesday March 29, 30 km from Dakar, it was first necessary to baptize the Abdoulaye-Wade stadium in Diamniadio (inaugurated on February 22, 2022 during a gala match). The 50,000 tickets had – obviously – found takers. The kick-off was scheduled for 5 p.m. local time, but by noon thousands were already making their voices heard in the stands.
When it’s time for the Egyptian anthem, the singing of Mohamed Salah’s teammates is inaudible, drowned out by the din of the stands. Green dots then appear on the faces of the visiting players: these are lasers pointed from the stands. The match hasn’t started yet, but the tone is already set. This evening promises to be electric.
It becomes more so when Senegal opens the scoring from the 3and minute. After a free kick struck by Idrissa Gueye towards the far post, the ball, badly cleared from the head by a defender, lands in the feet of Boulaye Dia who does not hesitate to ruffle the strings at close range.
Thanks to this early realization, the Lions of Teranga thus catch up with their delay conceded during the first round. 1-0 was already the score in the first leg in favor of Egypt last Friday in Cairo.
Aliou Cissé on the Senegalese side and Carlos Queiroz on the Egyptian side railed against each other: very quickly, the referee had to calm down the two coaches. As the match progresses, the players claim fouls and appear more and more nervous. The tension of the stands infuses the field.
Hit in contact with his vis-à-vis Saliou Ciss from the outset, the Egyptian side Omar Gaber must give way to injury in the 36and minute. Meanwhile, his teammate Mahmoud Hamdy had already had to leave his partners because of thigh pain. Before half-time, half of the Egyptian defense is already reworked.
Dominating in the first period, the Lions of Teranga rarefied their chances after the break. Neither team manages to worry the opposing goalkeeper. Consequences: the extension becomes inevitable, as in the CAN final.
In the 95th, Diamniadio’s Abdoulaye-Wade stadium is already ready to exult when Sadio Mané delivers an ideal cross at the far post towards Ismaïla Sarr. The Senegalese striker has the goal wide open in front of him, but he strikes with his heel and the ball miraculously returns to the Egyptian goalkeeper, Mohamed El Shenawy.
Swarm of lasers
This “remake” of the final of the last CAN therefore extends to penalties. A confusing session which will begin with four failed attempts (two on each side), including that of Mohamed Salah. Like all his teammates, the Egyptian star had to face a swarm of lasers aimed at his eyes from the stands. He sent the ball very far above the crossbar.
His friend and club teammate in Liverpool, Sadio Mané, has the clear vision to hit the fifth Senegalese attempt squarely in the center and deliver his supporters. As in 2002 and 2018, the Teranga Lions will participate in the World Cup.
Ghana will accompany Senegal to Qatar. After drawing 0-0 in the first leg and 1-1 in the return against Nigeria, the ‘Black Stars’ got their ticket on the away goal – a rule removed from European cups, but still in force in these World Cup play-offs in the Africa zone.