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Senegal once again defeat Egypt on penalty kicks to clinch World Cup spot

In a repeat of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final, Egypt once again suffered the crushing experience of being eliminated in a penalty kick shootout as Senegal triumphed on spot kicks in Dakar following a 1-0 victory in regular time. Tied 1-1 on aggregate, extra time could not separate the teams and just like the 2021 AFCON final it was Senegalese star Sadio Mané who delivered the winning spot kick. Senegal qualify for their second straight FIFA World Cup and the third in the history of the Lions of Teranga.

Egyptian manager Carlos Queiroz stated his intent for the Pharaohs to focus on defending following their 1-0 first leg victory in Cairo, and hosts Senegal proceeded to dominate proceedings from the kickoff. The Egyptian game plan was unraveled almost immediately as Senegal took the lead on three minutes. An Idrissa Gana Gueye free kick from out side arrived at the far post, where Egypt left back Ahmed El Fatouh could only head the ball back into the middle of his penalty area where Senegal striker Boulaye Dia poked the ball past goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawy.

The visitors did not change their approach and bunkered down to try and hold off the Senegalese onslaught. As in Cameroon at the 2021 AFCON final, Senegal struggled to break down the Egyptian defensive line and outside of long range efforts from Gueye and Namplays Mendy, Egypt made it to the half without too much trouble.

The second half picked up in action and Egypt produced a couple of opportunities to nearly stun the home crowd. In the 71st minute a brilliant cross from the right wing by Mohamed Salah picked out substitute Ahmed Sayed “Zizo”, but the Zamalek player put his header just wide with Senegalese keeper Édouard Mendy watching the ball anxiously. Five minutes later it was Zizo again who dribbled past a defender for an open shot but could only shoot into the side netting.

Ismaïla Sarr had a couple of golden opportunities to finish the job for the hosts courtesy of excellent setups by Mané, but the Watford winger put his 1-on-1 attempt wide of El Shenawy’s goal in the 82nd minute before somehow failing to finish a Mané cross in the extra time period with the Al Ahly keeper desperately scrambling across.

Penalties were the only way to decide the match and each team’s first two takers failed to convert, including Egypt star Salah and Senegal captain Salidou Koulibaly. Both teams made their third attempts and Bamba Dieng dispatched Senegal’s fourth attempt before Mendy came up with a clutch save on Mostafa Mohamed’s attempt. Mané stepped up and delivered a booming kick down the middle to seal Senegal’s spot in Qatar and spark massive celebrations in Dakar.

Highlights of the match are below.

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