Sadio Mané sent his country to the World Cup at the expense of Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah yesterday as Senegal beat Egypt 3-1 in a penalty shootout after their playoff ended 1-1 on aggregate.
Senegal’s victory, with Mané hitting the winning spot-kick, was a repeat of the African Cup of Nations final last month when Mané clinched a first major title for his country by also scoring the winning penalty in a shootout against the Egyptians.
There was more pain for Salah, who missed Egypt’s first penalty in this shootout and again had to watch as Mané celebrated a major victory.
The teams missed the first four penalties of the shootout. Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly hit the crossbar with the first penalty. But Salah then blasted his penalty over the crossbar. Egypt missed three of its four penalties.
Ultimately, Mané was given the chance to seal a place at the World Cup in Qatar with Senegal’s fifth penalty. He looked at the referee, gave him a thumbs-up and then smashed it down the middle and celebrated in front of his home fans.
The game finished 1-0 for Senegal after extra time thanks to a fourth-minute own goal by Egypt’s Hamdi Fathi. That left it 1-1 on aggregate after Egypt’s narrow first-leg victory in Cairo on Friday.
It’s just the third time Senegal has qualified for the World Cup and the first time it has reached back-to-back tournaments after also making it to Russia in 2018. Before that, Senegal’s only other appearance was in 2002, when it surprised everyone to reach the quarterfinals on its World Cup debut.
Ghana earlier became the first team from Africa to qualify for this year’s World Cup with a 1-1 draw in Nigeria in the second leg of their tie to advance on away goals.
Thomas Partey scored the decisive goal for Ghana in the 10th minute in Abuja. William Troost-Ekong equalized for Nigeria with a penalty in the 22nd but Nigeria couldn’t use its home advantage to get a winner.
The teams drew 0-0 in Ghana in the first leg.
The result soothed the pain of a terrible African Cup of Nations campaign for Ghana, when the four-time African champion was eliminated in the group stage in Cameroon in January.