Host nation Qatar is dangerously close to being eliminated from the World Cup after losing 3-1 to Senegal at the Al Thumama Stadium.
Qatar’s hopes were left hanging by a thread after the Friday loss that left them bottom of Group A and facing elimination just five days after they opened the tournament with a 2-0 loss to Ecuador.
The Senegal fans brought colour and noise with rhythmic drumming throughout. At the same time, the home supporters turned out in maroon shirts, with many of the men opting for the traditional Middle Eastern thobe, a pristine white ankle-length tunic.
Qatar showed some flashes of exciting attacking play, but the reigning Asian champions were undone by sloppy defending that was harshly punished by a Senegalese side that was just that little bit better in every department.
With Qatar defending well, it was going to take either a moment of magic or a catastrophic mistake for Senegal to break the deadlock. Unfortunately, for Qatar defender Boualem Khoukhi it turned out to be the latter. Striker Boulaye Dia scored Senegal’s first goal after Khoukhi tried to make a clearance under no pressure before falling down.
Senegal’s second goal came just three minutes after the break delivered by former Bristol City striker’s Famara Diedhiou header.
Mohammed Muntari reduced the deficit in the 78th with a bullet header from Ismail Mohamad’s cross for Qatar’s first-ever goal at a World Cup in their debut tournament, but Senegal was unruffled as they continued to out-muscle their opponents in midfield.
As the Qatari fans were hoping for the equaliser, Senegal’s Bamba Dieng scored his team’s third goal, leaving the host team bottom of the group without a point after two games played.
In truth, with the Dutch still to come, the Qataris have next to no chance of making it out of the group, but coach Felix Sanchez told reporters that he and his team had never expected to set the world on fire, despite being at home.
“Expectations were set to give a good performance and organise a good World Cup, and that is the case,” he told a news conference, praising his players for their efforts.