After losing 2-0 in their opening World Cup match, Qatar and Senegal will be desperate for all three points when they meet in their second Group B game at the Al Thumama Stadium on Friday. Unsurprisingly, Aliou Cisse’s African champions head into the encounter as firm favourites at 13/20, but the host nation will relish the chance to get their first ever World Cup win.
To Win Match
Qatar 48/10 | Draw 11/4 | Senegal 13/20
Qatar became the first home team to lose their opening World Cup match as Ecuador cruised to a 2-0 victory over the hosts, with Enner Valencia scoring twice in the tournament curtain-raiser on Sunday.
It could have been even worse for the Qatari side in front of a 67,372 crowd at the tent-shaped Al Bayt stadium had Valencia not had a third minute header disallowed for a marginal offside after shaky goalkeeper Saad Alsheeb flapped at the ball.
In what will go down as one of the worst displays by a host nation to open a tournament, Qatar had five shots in the match and none of them were on target. The Asian nation had only two touches inside the opposition penalty area.
After that awful display, Qatar will need more than just luck to avoid joining South Africa as being the only host nation to fail to get out of the group stage at the World Cup. They will face an uphill task of upsetting Africa’s highest-ranked team Senegal and group favourites Netherlands.
Senegal would have been utterly disappointed to have conceded two late goals against the Dutch to lose their World Cup opener and hand Louis van Gaal’s side control of Group A.
The Teranga Lions had a good chance for an early lead inside the first minute when Ismaila Sarr gave a good pass to Boulaye Dia but his left-footed shot from the left side of the box was blocked.
Sarr was presented with another chance to give Senegal the lead in the ninth minute, but again, his left-footed shot from outside the box was a bit too high. After a handful of early missed chances by Senegal, the Dutchmen soon settled into the game.
Senegal no doubt missed their talisman, Sadio Mane, who was out injured as they failed to convert the chances that came their way. He scored three goals and assisted four more in a team that scored 15 across eight qualifying matches.
The loss to Mane is a huge blow to their chances of progressing far in the tournament, but the African champions still boast a formidable squad, with Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly, and they’ll no doubt fancy their chances of at least finishing behind Netherlands in Group A.