Just a month ago Sadio Mane and Senegal broke numerous Egyptian hearts by clinching the African Cup of Nations after a penalty shootout decided the final.
The game ended 0-0 after extra time following which Mane scored the decisive penalty to secure a 4-2 win against Egypt.
Mane’s Liverpool teammate and Egypt talisman Mo Salah was left watching from the halfway line as he was set to take Egypt’s 5th and possibly decisive penalty.
A month since then, Mane and Senegal have caused more anguish to Egypt as they knocked Salah and co out from the World Cup qualifiers hence finalizing Egypt’s absence from the Qatar World Cup.
After 180 minutes of normal time, the score was 1-1 on aggregate between the AFCON finalists when the fixture had to be decided by penalties for the second time in a row.
Once again it was a familiar story as Sadio Mane coolly slotted in the decisive penalty to secure a 3-1 win and Senegal’s ticket to the football carnival in Qatar.
Unlike the AFCON final, this time Salah had decided to take his penalty earlier and walked over to take Egypt’s first penalty of the night.
However, the change in order too did not help turn Egypt’s fortunes as the Liverpool man skied his effort high into the stands.
Salah was undoubtedly the best bet to score a penalty on the night alongside Mane. And it looks like there is one possible explanation for this rather surprising miss as Senegal fans were spotted attempting to distract Salah before his run-up using lasers to blind his sight.
I mean, just look at this. Salah sails his penalty over… and surely anybody would, given the lasers.— Henry Bushnell (@HenryBushnell) March 29, 2022
Mane scores, Senegal wins the shootout, Egypt out of the World Cup pic.twitter.com/tgHmCmW8uu
As he was lining himself in front of Edouard Mendy before the spot-kick, Salah was ambushed by a number of green lasers being directed at his face.
As soon as he skied his effort over the bar, the lasers were stopped hence, suggesting that it was a clear attempt to distract the Egyptian.
This is not the first time that lasers were used by fans to distract a player during a spot-kick as Denmark’s Kasper Schmeichel too faced the same enemy as he was trying to save a Harry Kane penalty during last summer’s Euros.
The same tactic was seen taken up by Egypt fans during the AFCON final as most Senegal players were blinded by lasers before set-piece opportunities throughout the game.
Senegal fans have come under heavy scrutiny following Salah’s miss as his penalty had it been converted would have perhaps given Egypt a better chance to still qualify.
But as it stands, it was too big of a miss alongside the other Egyptian penalties which were not converted as an entire country’s hopes of playing in the World Cup have been neutralised.
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