Hosts Qatar face an early World Cup exit after losing to Senegal

Host nation Qatar were pushed to the brink of early elimination from their own World Cup on Friday after a 3-1 loss to Senegal.

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2022 FIFA World Cup © FMM graphics studio

Goals either side of half-time from Boulaye Dia and Famara Diedhiou gave Senegal the lead before Qatari substitute Mohammed Muntari replied in the 78th minute to set up a dramatic finale.

Senegal substitute Bamba Dieng scored six minutes later to put the result beyond doubt and lift the African champions, who opened with a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands, straight back into Group A.

The defeat left Qatar sweating results elsewhere if they are to avoid following South Africa in 2010 as only the second World Cup hosts to bow out after the first round.

Their elimination would be confirmed if Ecuador fail to beat the Netherlands later in the day, and would make Qatar the first World Cup host to go out after two games.

Qatar had made a nervous start to the tournament in a 2-0 loss to Ecuador and they again looked tentative against Senegal.

The Asian champions dropped their goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb on the bench after his shaky opening performance.

His replacement Meshaal Barsham did not inspire much confidence in the early stages, flicking on a corner as Senegal pressed for the opening goal.

Ismaila Sarr and Nampalys Mendy had already missed goalscoring chances for Senegal, and Idrissa Gana Gueye and Youssouf Sabaly wasted more as the first half suffered.

Qatar almost finished

Qatar spent most of the opening 45 minutes at the back, but a rare break forward saw Akram Afif annoyed at not being awarded a penalty after he was bundled over by Sarr.

Senegal looked set to go into half-time without breaking down Qatar’s resistance, only for the hosts to gift them a goal in the 41st minute.

Qatar defender Boualem Koukhi fluffed a clearance to leave Dia to pounce on the loose ball and fire it past Barsham.

Senegal doubled their lead almost immediately after the break when Diedhiou headed home at the near post from a corner.

Qatar began to show much more attacking ambition from two goals down and Afif was involved in everything.

Almoez Ali forced a fingertip save from Senegal goalkeeper Eduoard Mendy before the Chelsea man again saved the Africans from Isamil Mohamad’s effort.

Mendy was rooted to his line as Muntari pulled one back for Qatar, powerfully heading home Mohamad’s cross to pull the hosts back.

The goal lifted the crowd and sent Qatar forward in search of another, but Dieng snapped the revival in his 84th minute when he swept the ball home for Senegal’s third.

Abdelkarim Hassan then hit a free-kick just wide of the post as Qatar tried to fight back but Senegal held on to seal the win.

(AFP)

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