Mane-less Senegal, Netherlands square off

By Lawrence Trusida, Sports Editor

AFTER Enner Valencia’s heroics as Ecuador beat hosts Qatar 2-0 on the opening day of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the action continues this Monday with three matches on the cards.

The 6pm kick-off at the Al Thumama Stadium between Senegal and Netherlands is arguably the match of the day as the African champions face one of Europe’s heavyweights.

Senegal and the Netherlands will head into their opening World Cup fixture high on confidence after a string of promising performances.

In February, the Teranga Lions secured their first Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) title after beating Egypt on penalties.

The Netherlands has also enjoyed considerable success in their continental exploits, topping their Nations League group and notching two morale-boosting wins against their rivals, Belgium.

Monday’s match will likely represent the greatest challenge in Group A for both teams, who will fancy their chances against Ecuador, ranked 44th in the world and Qatar number 50.

Despite missing talisman Sadio Mane, Senegal has an array of stars to call upon in Chelsea’s Kalidou Koulibaly and RB Leipzig’s Abdou Diallo who will be expected to lead the defence while Pape Sarr, Isamaila Sarr and Buolaye Dia are expected to provide the spark in the absence of Mane.

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