Senegal goalkeeper Edouard Mendy has starred with a number of immaculate saves in what would be a statement 3-1 victory over an error-riddled Qatar.
Mendy’s ability between the sticks played a significant role in the result of this game, as crucial stops in the second half saw Senegal remain in the lead.
He would make two significant saves that would help hold off efforts from Qatar to make a comeback while Senegal were able to convert on the attacking end.
In the 63rd minute, Almoez Ali had Qatar’s best quality shot, curling a long shot towards the far corner. Mendy would shift across to make a great save and protect the two-goal lead created by Senegal.
In the 67th minute, Mohammed would attempt a close-range goal that would force Mendy to perform another great save and save his defence again.
Qatar’s offence at its best against Senegal was when they would create attack through looping the ball over the top of defenders and playing through balls to their attackers that would put pressure on Senegal’s defenders to get back as fast as possible.
Not having a lot of pressure and field position would allow Senegal to build momentum with their calculated ball movement and space creation which would allow their goals to be scored.
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The first goal scored in the game would be in the 41st minute, with Boulaye Die scoring after a slip from a Qatar defender, allowing Die to run after the ball and quickly attempt a shot at goal.
Just after halftime, a corner kick would lead to Famara Diehiou scoring a header, putting it in the top left corner.
Qatar would score their first and only goal in the 78th minute, with Mohammed Muntari scoring a header after two cross kicks that would shift the ball downfield and into the box.
The game-sealing goal would arrive in the 84th minute, as Cheikh Dieng scored a goal from the center of the box to put Senegal 3-1 up.
Mendy’s ability in goal saw him deflect the Qatar attacks and bail out his defensive unit in the second half, who were lacking at times to properly handle their oppositions ball movement up the ground.
While he was unable to complete the clean sheet, his two saves in the dangerous time period proved to be essential and gave Senegal their first win at this World Cup.
After the draw between the Netherlands and Ecuador, Senegal now sit third in the group just one point behind the two nations. Senegal will need to win their final game against Ecuador to progress in the tournament, or draw and hope Netherlands lose comfortably to Qatar.
Qatar however have officially been knocked out of contention after the two results in Group A, meaning they are unable to progress to the knockout stages and will purely be playing for pride in its final match against the Netherlands.
If they are to be defeated again, they will be the first home nation to not win a game in the tournament’s history.
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