Hosts Qatar stand on the brink of elimination just two games into the World Cup after a 3-1 defeat to Senegal at Al Thumama Stadium.
Qatar are rooted to the bottom of Group A with one game to play and will be the first nation eliminated from the tournament if the Netherlands avoid defeat against Ecuador later on Friday.
Boulaye Dia (41) and Famara Diedhiou (48) struck either side of half-time to put Senegal in control as they set about responding to their opening-night defeat to the Netherlands.
Mohammed Muntari pulled one back (78) with an historic first goal at a World Cup finals for Qatar, but the hosts’ unlikely comeback lasted just six minutes as Ahmadou Dieng restored Senegal’s two-goal lead (84).
Big moments in the game…
33 min: Qatar penalty appeals ignored after Akram Afif bundled over by Ismaila Sarr
40 min: Boulaye Dia rifled Senegal in front after Boualem Khoukhi’s defensive error
48 min: Famara Diedhiou’s stooping near-post header doubled Senegal lead
62 min: Almoez Ali registers Qatar’s first shot on target at World Cup but Edouard Mendy saves
67 min: Ismael Mohammed forces wonder save from Edouard Mendy
78 min: Mohammed Muntari pulled goal back with Qatar’s first-ever World Cup goal
84 min: Ahmadou Dieng restored Senegal’s lead
Senegal leave hosts Qatar on brink of exit
After a World Cup debut to forget against Ecuador, Qatar’s improvement against Senegal was visible, though they lacked attacking threat in a one-sided first half.
The hosts felt they should have been awarded a penalty when Akram Afif was felled by Ismaila Sarr in the area, but the appeals were ignored by referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz.
Qatar were within four minutes of reaching the interval on level terms when Senegal took the lead, Dia pounced on Boualem Khoukhi’s defensive error to rifle in the opener at the near post.
Senegal doubled their lead within three minutes of the restart when Diedhiou brilliantly glanced in from a corner to all but condemn Qatar to elimination.
But the hosts stirred superbly, registering their first two attempts on target at this World Cup as Edouard Mendy pulled off two fine saves to deny Almoez Ali and Ismail Mohamad in the space of five minutes.
The Qatari pressure eventually told 12 minutes from time when Muntari rose high and superbly headed in his nation’s maiden World Cup finals goal, but the celebrations were short-lived, with Dieng restoring Senegal’s two-goal cushion from 12 yards to leave the hosts staring at an early exit.
What does the result mean?
Qatar’s second defeat at the 2022 World Cup leaves them bottom of Group A with no points, while all the other teams in the group have three points.
A win or a draw for Netherlands against Ecuador, who beat Qatar in the tournament’s opening game, later on Friday will see Qatar become the first side mathematically eliminated from the competition.
In the final Group A games, Qatar face the Netherlands and Ecuador take on Senegal on Tuesday at 3pm.
Qatar make history – Opta stats
Qatar have become the first host nation to lose two matches in a single group round of an edition of the World Cup.
Mohammed Muntari scored Qatar’s first World Cup goal in their second match and from their 12th shot.
Qatar became only the third host nation to concede three goals in a single group stage game, after South Africa in 2010 and Russia in 2018 (both 3-0 defeats to Uruguay).
Senegal became the first African side to beat the host nation at a World Cup; all of the previous four instances of an African side facing the hosts had seen them lose by an aggregate 12-2 score.