Ihe remake of the 2022 African Cup of Nations final has once again turned in favor of the Senegalese, who will play their third World Cup next November after 2002 and 2018. And above all, the Lions of Teranga come to break the curse which struck the winners of the CAN. Indeed, since Nigeria in 2013, none of the last African champions has qualified for a World Cup following their coronation. Côte d’Ivoire, winners in 2015 and Cameroon in 2017, did not qualify for the World Cup in Russia in 2018.
THE GAME. Senegal dominated this return play-off from start to finish
Beaten 1-0 in the first leg in Egypt, Senegal caught up with Boulaye Dia early in the game before it all came down to penalties. At the end of a penalty session during which “Mo” Salah missed the target, it was his Liverpool teammate who offered the victory to the Senegalese.
In the first leg, Egypt had nevertheless taken the lead (1-0). And Salah was not for nothing since he had provoked the goal against his side of Saliou Ciss.
But on Tuesday, it was the Abdoulaye-Wade stadium, in Diamniadio, near Dakar, which exploded with joy, twice. In the very first minutes of the match first, when Boulaye Dia erased the Senegalese deficit following a free kick from Idrissa Gueye (1-0, 3and). Then in the very last seconds, when Mané scored the decisive third shot on goal.
Carried by their impressive public, also adept at using lasers to disrupt their opponent, Aliou Cissé’s men first multiplied their chances. Like Ismaïla Sarr’s two attempts captured by Mohamed El-Shenawy (28and32and), that of Nampalys Mendy (42and) who grazed the left post or even a cross from Bouna Sarr narrowly released by Emam Ashour in front of Ismaïla Sarr before the break.
Little dangerous, the Egyptians waited for the second period to be more enterprising. The Pharaohs could even have cooled the atmosphere when twice the head then hits it (70and75and) from Zizo came to give a warning to the Senegalese while, for his part, Ismaïla Sarr, alone against the goalkeeper, missed the target (82and). In extra time, it was Mohamed El-Shenawy who stood out, winning several times to prevent his team from being crunched by the Lions.
But that was only delaying the moment when they were finally going to roar, once again, with pleasure.