Cisse: ‘Scoreline not a true reflection of the game’

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse believes his side’s defeat at the hands of Egypt in the first-leg of the 2022 World Cup playoff is not an accurate reflection of the game.

The Teranga Lions boss is confident they will defeat the Pharaohs on Tuesday to qualify for the tournament in Qatar despite the 1-0 defeat at the Cairo international Stadium on Friday.

The result was a revenge for the Egyptians who lost on penalties to Senegal in the final of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon last month.

Saliou Ciss scored into his own net just four minutes in, as the Egyptians took a massive lead that they jealously guarded ahead of next week’s second-leg.

The ball came off the crossbar and ricocheted off Ciss’ feet into his own net after Mohamed Salah had chipped the onrushing goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Senegal surged forward for the equaliser but Sadio Mane’s effort in the 37th minute went just over the bar before the Liverpool ace provided for Famara Diedhiou in the second-half just at the edge of the box but the latter fluffed the chance.

Egypt defended resolutely to preserve the lead and the Teranga Lions coach Cisse believes they must maintain their composure in the second-leg on Tuesday to convert all their chances to qualify for the World Cup.

“The Senegal team must keep all its serenity and calm for the return match despite the 1-0 defeat recorded against Egypt since it does not reflect the state of play and this must allow us to be confident for the qualification to the World Cup,” Cissé said after the match.

“We have to stay calm and work to improve our efficiency, that’s what was missing in tonight’s game.”

“Egypt only scored on their only chance of the match and we just have to work to be more effective in both legs.”

The Senegal coach was happy with the performance of his players at Cairo International Stadium but stressed the need to convert their chances in the second-leg to achieve their vision of playing at the World Cup later this year.

“I am satisfied with the game produced by the players, we must focus on efficiency for the second leg,” Cisse said.

“But nothing is lost, we have a second leg to play at home, we have to work with a view to reversing the result.”

“We are confident in our capabilities. We are going to improve and seek the victory that will qualify us for the World Cup,” he added.

Senegal will host the second-leg of the play-offs for the 2022 World Cup on Tuesday.

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