Egypt and Nigeria out as Mane penalty and away goals send Senegal and Ghana to Qatar

March 30 – Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco and Tunisia all booked their places at the World Cup finals Tuesday on a frantic night of final African play-off action.

Sadio Mane scored the winning penalty in a shootout after extra time to send Senegal to Qatar after Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah missed his spot-kick for Egypt.

It was an exact repeat of the Africa Cup of Nations final when Senegal also beat Egypt on penalties.

The hosts, who this time won 1-0 on the night for a 1-1 aggregate scoreline, were left jubilant at the final whistle, with Egypt’s players disconsolate and Salah – one of the world’s best players – left contemplating his absence from November’s tournament.

It appeared, however that Salah was targeted by green laser pointers as he stepped up to take his team’s first kick, blasting his shot over the bar.

It is the first time Senegal has reached back-to-back World Cups, their only other appearance coming in 2002.

“It was important to get off to a good start, something we had not done in Cairo,” said Senegal coach Aliou Cisse. “This team is better equipped (than the one which qualified for the 2018 Finals). We (should have been) able to qualify in regular time given the chances we missed.”

Cameroon, meanwhile, pulled off a stunning 2-1 victory in Algeria, also after extra time, having lost the first leg 1-0 at home, to advance on the away goals rule. After Cameroon scored early, Ahmed Touba’s header from a corner with two minutes to go in extra time appeared to have secured a dramatic qualification for the hosts.

But in the fourth minute of injury time Karl Toko Ekambi connected with a low volley to clinch the visitors’ place in Qatar.

It was another blow for Algeria after they were dumped out of the African Cup in the group stage two months ago to end the defence of their title.

Nigeria always expect to qualify but their hopes were dashed by Ghana who, like Cameroon, also went through on away goals away from home following a 1-1 draw in the second leg.

Ghana will return to the World Cup after missing out in 2018 but their players had to scramble for safety afterwards as angry Nigerian fans among the 60,000 crowd invaded the pitch.

Elsewhere Morocco beat Congo 4-1 for a 5-2 aggregate victory while Tunisia secured their place despite being held 0-0 at home by Mali.

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