Salah, Mane face off as Egypt paired with Senegal in World Cup qualifying playoff

Ahram Online , Saturday 22 Jan 2022

Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane will come face to face in a decisive World Cup qualifier as Egypt were drawn with Senegal in the final two-legged playoff on Saturday.

Salah and Mane
File photo of Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane (AFP)

The draw, which was made in Cameroon's Douala, pitted Egypt and Senegal against each other in the World Cup qualifiers for the first time in more than 20 years.

Although Egypt had the upper hand when they met in the 2002 qualifiers, drawing 0-0 on the road and winning 1-0 at home, it was Senegal who eventually won the group before famously going on to reach the quarter finals at the South Korea and Japan finals.

Their most recent meetings saw Senegal beat Egypt home and away in the 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Senegal great El Hadji Diouf, who was an integral member of the team's squad when they met Egypt more than 20 years ago, drew Egypt's ball out of the bowl in a low-key ceremony, with former Togo striker Emmanuel Adebayor picking Senegal's.

"All the games are strong, on top of them Senegal against Egypt … those who will play at home in the second leg will have an advantage," Diouf said.

Egypt will host Senegal in the first leg on 24 March, with the second taking place five days later.

Both Salah and Mane, Liverpool's standout performers, will be looking to lift their respective teams to the World Cup finals for a second straight time.

Egypt and Senegal bowed out at the group stage four years ago in Russia. The Pharaohs are seeking to qualify for the World Cup for a fourth time while Senegal are eyeing their third appearance.

In other high-profile games, Cameroon take on Algeria, Ghana play Nigeria and Tunisia face Mali. Morocco were given an easier test against DR Congo, who are managed by ex-Egypt coach Hector Cuper.

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