Host nation Qatar is dangerously near being eradicated from the World Cup after shedding 3-1 to Senegal on the Al Thumama Stadium.
Qatar’s hopes have been left hanging by a thread after the Friday loss that left them backside of Group A and going through elimination simply 5 days after they opened the event with a 2-0 loss to Ecuador.
The Senegal followers introduced color and noise with rhythmic drumming all through. On the identical time, the house supporters turned out in maroon shirts, with lots of the males choosing the standard Center Japanese thobe, a pristine white ankle-length tunic.
Qatar confirmed some flashes of thrilling attacking play, however the reigning Asian champions have been undone by sloppy defending that was harshly punished by a Senegalese aspect that was simply that little bit higher in each division.
With Qatar defending properly, it was going to take both a second of magic or a catastrophic mistake for Senegal to interrupt the impasse. Sadly, for Qatar defender Boualem Khoukhi it turned out to be the latter. Striker Boulaye Dia scored Senegal’s first objective after Khoukhi tried to make a clearance beneath no strain earlier than falling down.
Senegal’s second objective got here simply three minutes after the break delivered by former Bristol Metropolis striker’s Famara Diedhiou header.
Mohammed Muntari diminished the deficit within the 78th with a bullet header from Ismail Mohamad’s cross for Qatar’s first-ever objective at a World Cup of their debut event, however Senegal was unruffled as they continued to out-muscle their opponents in midfield.
Because the Qatari followers have been hoping for the equaliser, Senegal’s Bamba Dieng scored his staff’s third objective, leaving the host staff backside of the group and not using a level after two video games performed.
In fact, with the Dutch nonetheless to return, the Qataris have subsequent to no probability of constructing it out of the group, however coach Felix Sanchez instructed reporters that he and his staff had by no means anticipated to set the world on fireplace, regardless of being at residence.
“Expectations have been set to provide a great efficiency and organise a great World Cup, and that’s the case,” he instructed a information convention, praising his gamers for his or her efforts.
Senegal and the Netherlands will head into their opening World Cup fixture excessive on confidence after a string of promising current performances.
In February, the Teranga Lions secured their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title after beating Egypt on penalties.
The Netherlands have additionally loved appreciable success of their continental exploits, topping their Nations League group and notching two morale-boosting wins in opposition to their Benelux rivals, Belgium.
Robust fixture for each
Monday’s match will possible signify the best problem in Group A for each groups, who will fancy their probabilities in opposition to Ecuador and Qatar, ranked forty fourth and fiftieth on the planet, respectively.
The competition at Al Thumama Stadium had promised to pit Liverpool’s mercurial centre-back Virgil van Dijk in opposition to his former teammate and prolific goalscorer Sadio Mané. Nevertheless, this yr’s Ballon d’Or runner-up picked up a leg harm taking part in for German champions Bayern Munich and has been dominated out of the match, in an enormous blow to the African champions that has left its supporters in shock.
“We all know that we’ve misplaced an excellent chief however I feel that there shall be extra gamers that can present themselves and we have to be prepared,” defender Kalidou Koulibaly mentioned.
Midfielder Nampalys Mendy agreed.
“Now we have to be prepared, prepared earlier than any eventuality, it’s true that the absence of Sado will hurt us enormously … as a result of he is a vital participant. Now we have gamers of nice high quality too, so we’re assured in our high quality, and we’ll do every part to indicate it.”
Nonetheless, Micky Jnr, a soccer journalist specialising in African soccer, expressed confidence that “this Senegal staff will progress from the group”.
He expects Senegal to assert, at the least, a degree in opposition to the Netherlands, or “possibly shock the Europeans with a win”.
The midfield battle
On the again, each groups boast a number of world-class choices. Van Dijk is joined by the likes of Inter Milan’s Stefan de Vrij and Bayern Munich’s Matthijs de Ligt for the Oranje. Senegal can depend on Chelsea’s Koulibaly and RB Leipzig’s Abdou Diallo.
In between the sticks, Senegal seemingly have the higher hand with Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy.
Although the keeper has struggled for type this season, his worldwide expertise far outweighs what the Netherlands presents. Dutch supervisor Louis van Gaal has but to decide on his primary, however prior to now two matches, he handed Ajax shot-stopper Remko Pasveer his first worldwide caps on the ripe age of 39.
In midfield, the Oranje boast the likes of Frenkie de Jong and the free-scoring Cody Gakpo, who continues to gentle up the Dutch Eredivisie with 13 objectives and 15 assists in 24 video games to this point this season.
“It’s going to be a cagey sport; I feel the battle shall be gained in midfield,” says Jnr, who highlights Senegal’s Pape Matar Sarr, a gifted footballer with an “glorious work price” as somebody to look out for.
Senegal have some thrilling choices in assault, akin to Boulaye Dia, who’s at present on mortgage to Serie A facet Salernitana from Villareal.
Nevertheless, Mané shall be an enormous loss for Senegal, whose defence must deal with Memphis Depay who appears to have recovered from an harm.
“Now we have gamers who play on the highest degree, the most important golf equipment on the planet. Now we have expertise. Now we have expertise. Now we have a superb combination. However at the beginning, we’ve staff spirit. And I feel that’s the beginning and the important thing to success. It’s not assured success, in fact, however it’s a great way to start out,” van Dijk mentioned on Thursday, whereas additionally hailing van Gaal’s management.
“Now we have a incredible supervisor, skilled supervisor,” he added.
“It’s going to be a really massive one in opposition to the African champions and we’ll do every part in our energy to hopefully get a superb end result and begin our World Cup in the easiest way potential.”