Egypt will be seeking redemption when they square off with Senegal in the 2022 Fifa World Cup Qualification Third Round match on Friday.
With the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final defeat to Senegal still fresh in their minds, the Pharaohs will be desperate to avenge the loss and also take control of the tie before heading to Dakar for the second-leg clash on Tuesday.
Coach Carlos Queiroz, who guided his native Portugal and Iran to the World Cup finals in the past, is under pressure to ensure that Egypt overcome the Lions of Teranga on aggregate and secure their second successive qualification for the global showpiece.
The seven-time African champions will be up against a Senegal side that will be banking on the psychological edge that they hold over their opponents having defeated them 4-2 penalties following a 0-0 draw in the Afcon final in Yaounde just last month.
The Lions of Teranga also took part in the last World Cup finals four years ago in Russia and coach Aliou Cisse will be looking to ensure that his side avoids emulating Egypt, Ivory Coast and Zambia, who all failed to qualify for football’s most prestigious tournament while being reigning African champions.
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Egypt will be without several players who are out injured including Mohamed Hany, Ramadan Sobhi, while Ahmed Hegazi and Akram Tawfik are also still out nursing injuries which they picked up during the 2021 Afcon finals.
However, the Pharaohs have been boosted by the availability of their captain and star forward Mohamed Salah. The Liverpool superstar has recovered from an injury that saw him miss the Reds’ FA Cup clash with Nottingham Forest last weekend.
Considered by some as the best goalkeeper based in Africa, Mohamed El Shenawy is expected to start in goal after missing the recent clash against Senegal due to injury. El Shenawy and Salah could be key to Egypt defeating the Lions of Teranga.
Meanwhile, Senegal have not reported any injuries in their camp ahead of this highly-anticipated encounter with Cisse having named a squad made up mostly of players who were part of his Afcon title-winning squad.
Cisse could also unleash Ismaila Sarr, who has recovered from an injury that led to the flying winger missing Watford’s last three matches. Sarr also missed Senegal’s group stage matches in Cameroon due to injury, but he started against Egypt in the final.
The West African side will once again pin their hopes of overcoming the Pharaohs on Salah’s club teammate Sadio Mane. The world-class attacker missed a penalty in regulation time against Egypt, but he converted the spot-kick which earned Senegal the win during the penalty shootout.
In a Head-to-Head record, Egypt and Senegal have met 13 times.
The Pharaohs have the upper hand having recorded six wins compared to the Lions of Teranga’s five victories while two matches ended in a draw.
Their 2021 Afcon final encounter remains the last game between Egypt and Senegal.
The two teams reached this round of the 2022 World Cup qualification following successful group stage campaigns as Egypt won Group F without losing a single match.
While Senegal were dominant in Group H – winning five of their six games, with one match ending in a draw as they finished at the top of the standings.