Qatar made history by scoring their first ever World Cup goal but edged closer to elimination from the tournament after a 3-1 defeat to Senegal at the Al Thumama Stadium.Embed from Getty Images
Senegal became the first African side to beat the host nation of a World Cup as they bounced back from their 2-0 defeat to the Netherlands on Monday with a convincing victory in Doha.
Shortly after the 30 minute mark the hosts felt as though they should have been awarded a penalty when Akram Afif was clumsily bundled over in the area by Watford man Ismaila Sarr, but the referee was unmoved.
Boulaye Dia then gave Senegal a 1-0 lead on 41 minutes, confidently striking past Meshaal Barsham into the bottom corner after Boualem Khoukhi made a meal of his attempted clearance.
Senegal then doubled their lead at the start of the second half when former Bristol City striker Famara Diedhiou made a run to the near post before guiding an outstanding header into the back of net from Ismail Jakobs’ pinpoint corner.
Qatar came close to pulling a goal back just after the hour mark when Abdellarim Hassan let loose a thunderous shot from range but the ball flew marginally wide of Edouard Mendy’s post much to the relief of the Chelsea man.
Félix Sánchez’ side continued to pile on the pressure as Mendy was called into action twice in five minutes with two brilliant saves to keep Senegal’s two goal lead in tact.
In the 78th minute Qatar’s pressure finally told when substitute Mohammed Muntari leapt above Kalidou Koulibaly and nodded home Ismael Mohammad’s curling cross from the right hand side to pull it back to 2-1.
However Senegal regained their two goal cushion just six minutes later as Sheffield United youngster Iliman Ndiaye cut it back for Bamba Dieng who lashed the ball home past Barsham to make it 3-1.
Qatar’s second defeat from two leaves them bottom of Group A on zero points and face being the first nation to be mathematically eliminated from the tournament if the Netherlands avoid defeat against Ecuador later on Friday.
Qatar have also become the first host nation to lose two matches in the group stages of a World Cup in the tournament’s history.
Despite being on the brink of elimination, Qatar boss Félix Sánchez has insisted his side should not be branded a “failure and disappointment” following their loss to Senegal.
“I do think we played a good game. When you come here you need to know where you’re coming from (as a country). If this is a failure and disappointment, that depends on expectations,” Sánchez told reporters.
“Our goal was to be competitive… We’ve been working for so many months to be able to give a good performance.
“But sometimes the match does not play out as you expect. It also depends on the opponents’ performance. We didn’t play at our top level. We were competitive but didn’t improve.”
Although they are without their star man Sadio Mane at this tournament, Senegal have now given themselves a great chance of qualifying for the round of 16 – they face Ecuador in a crucial looking fixture on Tuesday in their final group game.Embed from Getty Images
“We have to think about the appropriate approach to the last match. We need to win to have a chance to qualify for the last 16,” said Senegal manager Aliou Cisse in his post match press conference.
“Our concentration must be better as we could have avoided the goal that we conceded (against Qatar), but the Ecuador match will be different.”