Sadio Mane was the hero once again as he sent Senegal to the World Cup in Qatar following a dramatic 3-1 play-off penalty-shootout triumph over Egypt. It’s the second time in as many months that Alou Cisse’s side have pipped the Pharaohs on spot-kicks on the big stage and this time around, Mohamed Salah was at the centre of the heartache.
In the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, the Liverpool frontman did not even get the chance to take a spot-kick during the penalty shootout, as he was fifth in line.
This time around he went first to avoid an agonising repeat but crumbled under the pressure, as upwards of ten lasers flashed in his face.
Salah skied his penalty way over the crossbar and could only watch on helplessly as Senegal dispatched three of their five kicks through Ismaila Sarr, Bamba Dieng and his Reds colleague Mane.
It’s the second time Mane has been the hero for his nation after he fired the winning spot-kick in Cameroon to win Senegal’s first-ever international trophy.
READ MORE: Mohamed Salah and Egypt targeted with lasers by Senegal fans in World Cup play-off decider
They were off to the perfect start when Villarreal frontman Boulaye Dia drew the hosts level on aggregate inside just four minutes.
After left-back Saliou Ciss went on a rampaging run down the flank, the 32-year-old was chopped down – resulting in a free-kick.
Idrissa Gana Gueye swung the ball deep to the back post before it was headed back across goal to Dia, who gratefully converted.
Egypt goalkeeper Mohammed El Shenawy was forced to contend with a number of lasers being flashed in his face throughout proceedings.
Senegal fans also targeted Salah during the national anthems and it would soon prove to be a constant theme throughout the match.
The Pharaohs spent the majority of the opening 20 minutes breaking up the play as their players went to the ground requesting treatment.
However, starters Rami Rabia and Omar Gaber were forced off the field of play when they picked up injured following strong tackles from Senegal.
Carlos Queiroz was forced into two changes as his side looked to recover from conceding their early goal.
In the second half, Zizo had two clear chances to restore Egypt’s lead but he fluffed his line, missing the target twice.
Watford’s Sarr also had a golden opportunity to put Senegal ahead but the jet-heeled winger failed to convert as the game headed to extra-time.
Sarr soon missed another glorious chance in extra-time when Sadio Mane put the ball across the face of goal and El Shenawy scrambled across his line to save brilliantly.
Olympiacos defender Pape Abou Cisse then forced El Shenawy into another brilliant double save as Egypt continued to hold on.
Marseille’s Dieng also had a crack from range in the second half of extra-time that flew just wide.
After a gruelling 210 minutes of action, the play-off would be decided by penalties, just like the Africa Cup of Nations final…
Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly was first up for Senegal and he rattled the crossbar with his spot-kick.
Salah also skied his penalty after opting to take first this time around for Egypt as he choked under the pressure.
Thankfully the duo’s blushes were temporarily spared after Youssouf Sabaly and Zizo also missed from 12-yards.
Watford’s Sarr got the ball rolling before Egypt levelled things up after three spot-kicks.
Senegal forward Dieng made no mistake to put the pressure back on the Pharaohs – Mostafa Mohamed’s penalty was then saved by Edouard Mendy.
Man of the moment Mane – who is coolness personified when the pressure is on – then made no mistake, rifling home to send Senegal to Qatar…