By: Foday Manneh

The African champions Senegal suffered two last-minute goals to three-time World Cup finalist Netherlands in their Group B opener at the global showpiece in Qatar on Monday, November 21, 2022.

Cody Gakpo broke the deadlock with a header in the 84’ minutes from Barcelona striker Frenkie De Jong’s assist, which went close to the Senegalese goalkeeper. Still, Edouard Mendy was not quick enough to avoid trouble.

A second-half substitute Davy Klaassen doubled the lead for the Orange boys at the 9th-minute of additional time.

The game was an energetic contest with many opportunities from both sides, primarily created in the first half, with Senegal forming most of them.

The best chance of the Teranga Lions came from experienced Everton FC midfielder Idrisa Gana Gueye whose wide-range shot was perfectly blocked by Dutch debuting goalkeeper Andries Noppert.

The Netherlands is widely considered one of the greatest national teams of all time in the football world. Senegalese fans say the absence of Sadio Mane, their star man who has been ruled out of the tournament due to injury, cost them against the regular finalists.

Senegalese in Gambia watching the Game against Netherlands

“We realize the importance of (Sadio) Mane in the team. We played well and had a lot of chances, but we were not punishing them. If Mane were there, honestly, Van Dijk would’ve suffered a lot.” Mama Diallo said.

Sellu Mbengue predicted the game 2-0 in favor of Senegal, but his scores turned against him. At full-time, he blamed the Coach for the defeat.

“We needed just a goal to win this game. And the coach was using exhausted midfielders until the 70th minute while we have young stars who are good at scoring goals at any given time.” Mbengue stressed.

For the Lions of Teranga to succeed in their quest to advance to the knockouts of the 2022 World Cup, they have to salvage maximum points against the host nation, Qatar, on Friday and South Americans, Ecuador, the following Tuesday.

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