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CISSE: It is all in Senegal’s hands

Senegal coach Cisse. PHOTOS @CAF_ONLINE

🇹🇳 Tunisia 🆚 Mali 🇲🇱 10.30pm
🇩🇿 Algeria 🆚 Cameroon 🇨🇲 10.30pm
🇸🇳 Senegal 🆚 Egypt 🇪🇬 8pm
🇳🇬 Nigeria 🆚 Ghana 🇬🇭 8pm
🇲🇦 Morocco 🆚 DRC 🇨🇩 10.30pm

Friday Results
DRC 🇨🇩 1-1 🇲🇦 Morocco
Cameroon 🇨🇲 0-1 🇩🇿 Algeria
Mali 🇲🇱 0-1 🇹🇳 Tunisia
Egypt 🇪🇬 1-0 🇸🇳 Senegal
Ghana  0-0 🇳🇬 Nigeria

North African sides Algeria, Egypt and Tunisia struck first blood, winning the first leg matches of their Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup play-off qualification matches on Friday

Cairo, Egypt |  CAFONLINE | Senegal coach Aliou Cisse believes his side’s defeat at the hands of Egypt in the first-leg of the 2022 World Cup playoff is not an accurate reflection of the game.

The Teranga Lions boss is confident they will defeat the Pharaohs on Tuesday to qualify for the tournament in Qatar despite the 1-0 defeat at the Cairo international Stadium on Friday.

The result was a revenge for the Egyptians who lost on penalties to Senegal in the final of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon last month.

Saliou Ciss scored into his own net just four minutes in, as the Egyptians took a massive lead that they jealously guarded ahead of next week’s second-leg.

The ball came off the crossbar and ricocheted off Ciss’ feet into his own net after Mohamed Salah had chipped the onrushing goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Senegal surged forward for the equaliser but Sadio Mane’s effort in the 37th minute went just over the bar before the Liverpool ace provided for Famara Diedhiou in the second-half just at the edge of the box but the latter fluffed the chance.

Egypt defended resolutely to preserve the lead and the Teranga Lions coach Cisse believes they must maintain their composure in the second-leg on Tuesday to convert all their chances to qualify for the World Cup.

Sadio Mane of Senegal attempts to get past Omar Mahmoud Sayed Gaber of Egypt during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Egypt and Senegal held at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo, Egypt on 25

“The Senegal team must keep all its serenity and calm for the return match despite the 1-0 defeat recorded against Egypt since it does not reflect the state of play and this must allow us to be confident for the qualification to the World Cup,” Cissé said after the match.

“We have to stay calm and work to improve our efficiency, that’s what was missing in tonight’s game.” said the Senegalese tactician at a press conference.

“Egypt only scored on their only chance of the match and we just have to work to be more effective in both legs.

The Senegal coach was happy with the performance of his players at Cairo International Stadium but stressed the need to convert their chances in the second-leg to achieve their vision of playing at the World Cup later this year.

“I am satisfied with the game produced by the players, we must focus on efficiency for the second leg,” the former international defender said.

“But nothing is lost, we have a second leg to play at home, we have to work with a view to reversing the result.

“We are confident in our capabilities. We are going to improve and seek the victory that will qualify us for the World Cup,” added the Senegal coach.



Algeria players celebrate victory during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifier between Cameroon and Algeria at the Japoma Stadium, Douala, Cameroon on 25 March 2022

Cameroon 0-1 Algeria

In Douala, Islam Silimani scored the lone goal as former African champions Algeria silenced Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions at the Japoma Stadium.

Slimani scored his eighth goal in World Cup qualification, thumping home a 40th minute header from Youcef Bellaili’s delivery off a freekick.

Before then, Slimani had come close for the Desert Foxes when he pickpocketed Michael Ngadeu at the edge of the box, stormed into the box but Andre Onana made a brilliant save for a corner.

The home side didn’t create much danger in the final third but in the second half, they had some opportunities to score.

Leandre Tawamba who had come off the bench had a chance when he calmly controlled the ball inside the box but his shot on the half turn was weak and an easy pick for the keeper.

Mali attempts to get past Montassar Omar Talbi of Tunisia during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Mali and Tunisia held at the Stade du 26 Mars in Bamako, Mali on 25 March 2022

Mali 0-1 Tunisia

In Bamako, defender Moussa Sissako was the unfortunate villain for the Malians, as he scored an own goal and was sent off minutes later as the home side lost by a solitary goal to Tunisia.

Sissako scored a bizarre own goal in the 36th minute when his attempt to pass the ball back to his keeper was awry as the shot stopper had moved off his line and the pass was a yard off his positioning.

It went from bad to worse as Sissako was sent off four minutes later after being adjudged to have tripped a Tunisian attacker as the last man in defense.

Before going a goal and a man down, Mali had two close chances, both falling on Yves Bissouma, but his curling shots from just inside the box went wide.

In the second half, Mali’s Eagles pushed hard for an equalizer, but Tunisia defended in numbers to preserve the slim lead.

Dieumerci Amale of DR Congo controls possession during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between DR Congo and Morocco held at the Pentecost Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa, DR Congo on 25 March 2022

DR Congo 1-1 Morocco

In Kinshasa, substitutes Ayoub El Kaabi and Tarik Tissoudali combined for the equalizer as Morocco scored with 14 minutes left to salvage a 1-1 draw with DR Congo.

Yoane Wissa gave his side the lead just 12 minutes into the match when his brilliant shot from distance took a wicked deflection off skipper Roman Saiss and into the net.

In the 27th minute, Dieumerci Mbokani also had a chance with a shot from distance but keeper Yasine Bonou kept Morocco in the game.

In the second half, DR Congo began with pace and four minutes later, Wissa almost scored a similar goal to his first but this time, he couldn’t put the required curl on the ball as it went inches wide.

They were pegged back in the 54th minute when Morocco were handed a penalty after Cedric Bakambu handled inside the box. However, Ryan Mmaee stepped up and skied the penalty, a huge relif for the home side.

However, they were left off the hook with quarter of an hour left when Tissoudali struck a sweet volley after Ayoub El Kaabi had brilliantly headed down a deep cross from Adam Masina.

DR Congo had to finish the match with 10 men after Glody Ngonda was sent off for a second yellow card in the 85th minute.

Egypt captain Mohamed Salah celebrates a goal during the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier between Egypt and Senegal held at the Cairo International Stadium in Cairo, Egypt on 25 March 2022

Egypt 1-0 Senegal

At the Cairo international Stadium, hosts Egypt laid revenge on Senegal who beat them to the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations title in Cameroon last month, beating them by a solitary goal.

Saliou Ciss scored into his own net just four minutes in as the Egyptians took a massive lead that they jealously guarded ahead of next week’s second leg.

Ciss saw the ball come off the crossbar and ricochet off his feet into his own net after Mohamed Salah had chipped over Edouard Mendy, collecting a deep pass from midfield.

Despite going down early, Senegal proved their worth with a good fight, especially through talisman Sadio Mane. In the 37th minute the Liverpool forward surged ahead but his shot was just over.

In the second half he turned provider, slaloming past a forest of bodies inside the box before feeding Famara Diedhiou, but the latter couldn’t hit the target.

Men single handedly charged the forward line, but Egypt defended with discipline to preserve the lead.

Ghana players sing national anthem before the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Finals game between Morocco and Ghana at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on 10 January 2022

Ghana 0 – 0 Nigeria

At a fully packed Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi, hosts Ghana played to a barren draw with Nigeria in a highly publicized derby, leaving all to play for when the two sides clash in Abuja on Tuesday.

Both sides had chances to score, but none was lucky enough to find the back of the net.

Felix Afena Gyan, making his debut for the Ghanaian senior national team created a chance when he set up Under-20 star Abdul Fatawu Issahaku, but the latter’s shot from the edge of the area was saved by Francis Uzoho.

On the other end, Joe Wollacott also made a fine save to deny Moses Simon.

Uzoho was to be worked again minutes later when he went low to his left to keep out a shot from Mohamed Kudus. Just before that, skipper Thomas Partey had a shot from range which was deflected for a corner.



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