Our Friday column can only see a draw in the first leg of Egypt v Senegal as Sadio mane and Mohamed Salah clash again…
Egypt v Senegal
Friday 25 March, 19:30 kick-off
Look away now Liverpool fans, as Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are about to go head-to-head again as Egypt and Senegal battle it out for a place in the World Cup.
Just two months after Mane’s Senegal beat Salah’s Egypt on penalties in the Africa Cup of Nations final, they’re at it again in this two-legged play-off.
The first leg takes place at the Cairo International Stadium and despite having two of the best strikers in European football on the pitch it’s set to be a cagey affair.
Salah’s Pharaohs drew all four of their knockout games at AFCON, winning one in extra time, winning two on penalties before losing that final via spot-kicks.
All three of those games decided by penalties were 0-0 draws.
Egypt are a cautious side by nature and teams can often do a number on Salah by doubling up and cutting off the supply line – he can often be left stranded up front with little help.
Salah did manage two shots, both on target in that AFCON final though.
Mane’s Senegal are far more attacking and free-scoring, basically as they have far better players with more who play in Europe’s big leagues.
Mane scored three times in the AFCON tournament, before missing a penalty in the final but could coming back in the shootout to slam home the winning spot-kick.
Egypt are favourites to win the first leg, having not lost at home in 90 minutes for 15 games, but the draw at 2.89/5 stands out here.
Salah’s side are strong at home, but they just don’t seem like the type of side to go out and blast teams away, busting a gut to get that first leg lead.
So a stalemate is the way to go here.