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Senegal | Stat reveals continued struggles for Senegal in opening 2-0 World Cup loss against Netherlands

The absence of talisman Sadio Mané proved to be a decisive factor on the night as Aliou Cissé's men were unable to avoid a tournament-opening defeat with a familiar storyline on the scoreboard

African champions Senegal got off on the wrong foot in their opening fixture at the 2022 World in Qatar after the Lions of Teranga fell 2-0 to European giants Netherlands at Al Thumama Stadium.

Second-half goals from PSV Eindhoven star Cody Gakpo and Ajax veteran Davy Klaassen sealed a winning start for Louis van Gaal’s Oranje and puts them level on points with Ecuador after they opened the tournament with a 2-0 win over the host nation.

For Aliou Cissé’s talented squad, the absence of talisman Sadio Mané proved a bridge too far earlier tonight despite the efforts of Ismaïla Sarr and company, who managed to craft more shots than their European opponents but could not beat Andries Noppert in goal.

Most frustrating for Senegal was the continued unfortunate trend that has plagued their World Cup experience dating back to 2018 as pointed out by Ghanaian journalist Owuraku Ampofo, after it was revealed that Senegal conceded late goals on three occasions four years ago in Russia and have continued that trend in Qatar after a late surge from their Dutch opponents was enough to prove decisive.

In what is, on paper, Senegal’s most-difficult group stage fixture, the African giants are fully capable of setting the record straight against Ecuador and Qatar in the resulting fixtures and many will expect Cissé’s men to come good by the time the knockout stage comes around.

But without Mané leading the line and Cissé having to rely even more heavily on the aforementioned Sarr as well as Krépin Diatta on the flanks, with Boulaye Dia up front, goals could be at a real premium this winter for a nation that many pegged as a potential dark horse after their African Cup of Nations last season.

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Andrew Thompson

US-based Football writer. German football guru with a wealth of experience in youth development and analysis. Data aficionado. Happily championing the notion that Americans have a knowledgeable voice in the beautiful game.

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