An early own goal was enough to hand Egypt a 1-0 victory over Senegal in the first leg of their World Cup playoff.
The two games have been billed as a shootout between Liverpool stars Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane for a spot in Qatar later this year. The two nations squared off in the Africa Cup of Nations final back in February, when Mane’s side got the better of Egypt on penalties after a goalless draw.
However, on this occasion, it was Egypt who grabbed the victory, though more work is required next week in the return leg with their lead a slender one.
Saliou Ciss’ own goal proved to be the game’s only strike as Pharaohs goalkeeper Mohamed El Shenawi successfully kept out the likes of Mane, Ismaila Sarr and Idrissa Gana Gueye.
Salah pounced on some sluggish Senegal defending and hit the bar, with the ball ricocheting into the net via a Ciss deflection.
Elsewhere in CAF’s final qualifying stage, DR Congo and Morocco drew 1-1. Islam Slimani’s strike was enough for Algeria to secure a 1-0 victory over Cameroon, while Tunisia beat Mali by the same scoreline thanks to a Moussa Sissako own goal – the same player was sent off four minutes later.
The night’s other headline game featured Ghana and Nigeria, but the teams couldn’t be separated in Kumasi with the tie to be decided in the return leg in Abuja.
2022 FIFA World Cup qualification – CAF Third Round first leg results
DR Congo 1-1 Morocco
Cameroon 0-1 Algeria
Mali 0-1 Tunisia
Egypt 1-0 Senegal
Ghana 0-0 Nigeria