Salah’s turn as Egypt beat Senegal in first leg of World Cup qualifiers

CAPE TOWN, South Africa (AP) — Mohamed Salah had his say this time as Egypt beat Sadio Mane’s Senegal 1-0 in the first leg of Friday’s World Cup qualifiers.

Salah’s first shot in Cairo blasted off the crossbar, hit Senegal defender Saliou Ciss and came on to give Egypt a slight advantage over the new African champions to play the second leg in Senegal on Tuesday .

The Salah-Mané international rivalry continued six weeks after Liverpool’s team-mates met in the African Cup of Nations final in Cameroon. Then Mané struck the winning penalty in a shoot-out to hand Senegal their first major title as Salah watched helplessly.

Egypt started the qualifiers with dizzying speed at the Cairo International Stadium and Ciss’ own goal came in the fourth minute. Salah sprinted after entering and was mobbed by just about every player on the Egyptian bench.

There was a kind of redemption for Algeria too.

The Algerians returned to the same stadium where they were knocked out of the Africa Cup in the group stage as defending champions to clinch a crucial 1-0 away win over Cameroon in the first leg of their playoffs.

Striker Islam Slimani scored with a header in the first half at Japoma Stadium in Douala, justifying his promotion to the starting XI. Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana put his hand on the header but only pushed it onto the crossbar and watched the ball drop into the goal behind him.

Cameroon were playing their first match under new coach and former national captain Rigobert Song, who was appointed to replace Toni Conceicao despite Conceicao leading Cameroon to a rather impressive third-place finish at the Africa Cup.

The debut didn’t go as planned for Song, and Cameroon need to come from behind in the second leg in Blida to reach the World Cup in Qatar and extend their African record to eight World Cup appearances. . Algeria almost never loses at home.

The qualifiers will decide the five African teams that will contest the World Cup in Qatar and could erase those painful African Cup memories for Egypt and Algeria.

Tunisia picked up a crucial 1-0 away victory over Mali in the scorching heat of Bamako to put them ahead in their draw.

That victory came in large part thanks to a terrible personal performance from Malian defender Moussa Sissako, who gave Tunisia their winner with a calamitous own goal in the 36th minute. Sissako’s back pass attempt was nowhere near goalkeeper Ibrahim Mounkoro and bounced over the goal line as Sissako watched his mistake with his hands on his head.

Sissako then made Mali’s task nearly impossible when he was sent off four minutes later.

Morocco’s 1-1 draw in Congo made for a good night for the North African challengers, although it would have been even better for the Moroccans if Ryan Mmaee hadn’t fired a second-half penalty over the cross-bar.

Tarik Tissoudali finally equalized for Morocco with a ferocious first-time shot after striker Yoane Wissa scored in a game opener for Congo, who are trying to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since their only appearance previous one with Zaire in 1974.

Defender Ngonda Muzinga was sent off for Congo late in the game.

Ghana and Nigeria drew 0-0 in Ghana.

The return matches are all Tuesday.


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