Qatar vs Senegal Prediction
25th November 2022
16:00 Qatar Time/13:00 GMT
Al Thumama Stadium, Doha
World Cup Head-to-Head Record
Qatar vs Senegal Prediction Match Overview
Qatar vs Senegal is scheduled for Friday afternoon. Both teams will be very disappointed after losing their opening matches in Group A. Qatar lost 2-0 to Ecuador in the opening game after submitting an abysmal performance. The Ecuadorians cruised to victory after a brace from forward Enner Valencia – a penalty and a bullet header. Senegal performed better against the Netherlands and showed some guile in the attack, mainly through Ismaila Sarr. However, they succumbed to a late Cody Gakpo header and a strike from Davy Klaassen after an Edouard Mendy mistake.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might not play: Diallo (Senegal)
Will not play: Kouyate (Senegal)
Qatar vs Senegal Prediction Analysis
The pressure is on both teams in Qatar vs Senegal as each lost their respective opening games. Qatar were particularly disappointing. The reigning Asian champions did not lay a glove on South Americans Ecuador, with their midfield being easily overpowered and their forwards unable to get into the game. Indeed, winger Akram Afif was constantly coming deep to get a touch of the ball. This situation meant he was often not in the final third, where Qatar would want him to do the most damage. Senegal fared slightly better against the Netherlands in a fairly even contest. However, the two late goals will have worried coach Aliou Cisse. The goalkeeping from Edouard Mendy, in particular, left a lot to be desired. He was in no man’s land for Gakpo’s header and fumbled a weak shot which led to Klaassen’s goal. However, they showed enough to prove that they can get at a Qatar defence that might lack confidence.
Qatar are likely to be unchanged, lining up with their 3-4-3 formation. Qatar had 40 per cent possession in the Ecuador game, and Senegal had 45 per cent against the Netherlands. Senegal are not generally a possession-based team, but they will have more of the ball than Qatar. However, this might be a match of many transitions and counter-attacks. Qatar will need their full-backs, Pedro Miguel (Ro-Ro) and Homam Ahmed, to show much more quality down the flanks than they did against Ecuador. They will be responsible for getting forward and supporting Akram Afif and Hasson Al-Haydos. The Qatari back three will likely have much to contend with in Dia up front and Diatta and Sarr out wide. Sarr will probably start on the left again and look to get in behind Miguel. Qatar might play very defensively in this game, having been stung in the first match. Qatar might be happy with a point, though they would then have to beat a good Netherlands team in the final game to give themselves any chance of qualification. If they do play defensively, their 3-4-3 will become much more defensive, with Afif and Al-Haydos dropping very deep to support the wing-backs. They know Diatta, and especially Sarr, are very pacey and tricky. Hence, they will want to avoid being caught out in transitions.
The midfield battle should be intriguing here too. Senegal have lost Cheikhou Kouyate, and Pape Gueye or Pape Matar Sarr will come in for him. Karim Boudiaf, Idrissa Gueye, and Nampalys Mendy are all suspension risks for the final game, having been booked in the opening matches. However, Senegal will likely control the game. They have better players in the midfield area than Qatar. If they dominate the game, it will be up to Youssouf Sabaly at right-back and Abdou Diallo at left-back (who is more of a centre-back) to drive forward and support the attack. Nampalys Mendy and Pape Gueye will cover, while Idrissa Gueye has the license to push forward and support the attack. I Gueye is very good in the tackle and very combative. Indeed, the entire Senegal team is very physical, so Qatar must be ready for a battle. Qatar will have to do all they can to release their front three to have any scoring opportunities. However, it will be difficult for them as they appear to lack quality. If they can isolate Afif and Al-Haydos with the Senegalese defence, Kalidou Koulibaly will have to be strong at the back.
Both teams can change things. Qatar can bring on Mohammed Waad in midfield, adding more creativity and invention. They also have the option up front of Mohammed Muntari. Indeed, both players came on against Ecuador and gave the team slightly more spark. Muntari fired just over with a spectacular effort from outside the box. Senegal can start youngster Ismail Jakobs at left-back if Diallo isn’t fit. He represents a more attacking option. Bamba Dieng can replace Dia up front, and exciting young player Nicolas Jackson can replace Diatta to freshen things up.
Qatar Key Players
All eyes will be on Al-Sheeb after his frankly disastrous performance against Ecuador. He was called the worst goalkeeper in World Cup history afterwards by some. He consistently looked nervy and jumpy, coming out for crosses he got nowhere near collecting. He also seemed very unconvincing in collecting Ecuador shots. We have named him a key player as he must try to redeem himself by submitting a better performance against Senegal. A further reason for naming him a key player is that he is likely to come under fire from a barrage of Senegal crosses and shots, as Dia is good in the air. Ismaila Sarr can also come inside onto Qatar’s back three from the left and get his shots away. Therefore, Al-Sheeb must do much better if they are to keep Senegal out.
Afif is among the few Qatari players who showed a glimmer of quality against Ecuador. He often came deep into his own half simply to get a feel of the ball and involve himself in the game. Against Senegal, he will have to be disciplined and diligent and help out Ahmed defensively at every opportunity. However, if Qatar are to score their first-ever World Cup goal, you would imagine that Afif should be central to it. He looks like the most talented player in the team (though Hassan Al-Haydos seems decent, too). As a result, he must try to create and link up with the other two players in the attack. If he can come inside and get shots off, he could trouble Mendy. Mendy looked very shaky against the Netherlands, so it could be an avenue to exploit.
Senegal Key Players
This game looks set for Sarr to perform well in, and he will be licking his lips. Miguel looked low on quality defensively and offensively against Ecuador, so Sarr will look to further target and isolate him in this match. He will look to receive the ball from the midfielders (particularly I Gueye) and attack Miguel and come inside onto Al-Rawi to get shots away at an unconvincing Al-Sheeb. He will also look to link up with his left-back and play him in the overlap. Both Sarr and the left-back can provide crosses for Dia to attack. We expect Sarr to do well in this match and give the Qatari defence a torrid time. Sarr has that bit of trickery, dribbling, and inventiveness that Qatar will find difficult to defend.
We think Senegal will control the game and create chances, so we have named two of their attackers as key players. Dia is a quick and powerful striker who can finish well, and these qualities will be crucial against Qatar. As stated, crosses from Sarr and Diatta could be very lucrative for Dia. Yes, Qatar have a three-man central defence, but Enner Valencia proved in the first match that it is possible to evade them and find space in the box for headers and shots. Dia must try to replicate Valencia’s good movement in that match and find space for crosses or little slide-rule passes behind the Qataris. If he can do this, he will likely get chances one-on-one with Al-Sheeb. The Qatari goalkeeper isn’t the best shot-stopper, so Dia will fancy his chances of scoring here.
Qatar vs Senegal Prediction
Qatar vs Senegal would seem to be fairly straightforward to predict. The first matches were difficult for both teams, but Senegal looked better. Senegal were rather blunt in attack against the Netherlands, save a few moments from Sarr. However, against a weaker team and defence, we expect them to be much better in the final third. Senegal should have more of the ball, but, as stated, there will likely be plenty of transitions in this match. We expect the Senegal spine (Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gueye, and Nampalys Mendy) to control the game and create chances for their forwards. However, Edouard Mendy in goal must be better as he cannot make the mistakes he did in the first game. Qatar aren’t likely to have many opportunities, but the goalkeeper must provide them with no encouragement. Al-Sheeb, in the other goal, is a red flag, and we think he will make more mistakes. Senegal will be looking to score more goals than Ecuador did, as second place might come down to goal difference if the Netherlands beat Ecuador. Therefore, we predict a comfortable win for Senegal.