Egypt should go into this race with big chips on their shoulders, having failed to win the Africa Cup of Nations when they lost to Senegal on penalties last January. It was a slow and methodical race as both teams seemed cautious and didn’t want to make mistakes. As a result, the match ended in a draw after 120 minutes, sending the race to a penalty shootout in which Senegal won.
Egypt will look to throw that defeat in the rearview mirror and continue their momentum in their bid to reach the World Cup. Senegal also has World Cup ambitions and every team understands that they need to maintain their momentum going into this match.
Carlos Queiroz has many unbeaten clubs in the qualifying phase. Egypt won 4-2-0 in the sixth qualifying session to secure top spot in Group F with 14 points, seven ahead of second-placed Gabon.
Egypt will feel at home to start this bilateral clash as they are unbeaten in their last seven matches at the Cairo International Stadium. They are 6-1-0 in their last seven home Games in Nigeria without losing a game against South Africa 2019.
Senegal also has a lot going for them. They finished Group H at the top, winning 16 points in six games with a 5-1-0 record. Senegal easily overtook Togo, who finished with eight points.
The last time the Senegalese side did not pick up two points was when they drew 1-1 with Togo on 11 November. Aliu Cisse developed a ‘never say die’ culture for the club, which was fully demonstrated when Habib Diallo equalized late in the second half to win a point for Senegal.
It has been two months since Egypt and Senegal qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations and now they will be fighting again as they take to the pitch for their first two World Cup qualifiers. The competition will be played at the International Stadium in Cairo on Friday.
Both teams dominated the group stage and were unbeaten. This gives each team a lot of momentum while trying to secure a ticket for the World Cup in Qatar.
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