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2022 World Cup Qualifiers: 'Senegal must play smart football against Egypt' - Cisse

07:58 IST 25/03/2022
Coach Aliou Cisse of Senegal.
The 2021 Afcon finalists meet on Friday for the second time in two months to battle for a ticket to represent Africa in the global competition

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse insists his charges have to play smart football to stand a chance of overcoming Egypt at Cairo International in the first leg of their 2022 World Cup qualification play-off.

Friday's match will be a repeat of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final, where the Lions of Teranga needed a penalty shootout to win their maiden continental trophy after playing out a 0-0 draw against the Pharaohs.

The former international insists his team has improved since then and will be starting the match on a high to stand a chance of making it to the prestigious global competition.

"We arrived [on Wednesday for the match and]... this confirms that we’re fully focused and well prepared," Cisse told reporters as quoted by Kingfut.

"A month has passed since we played the final of the Africa Cup of Nations and it was enough time to improve some aspects. We strive to give our best and we want to start the game tomorrow in the best way possible to achieve a good result.

"We know that we will play two finals to qualify for the World Cup, and I consider them to be three matches that started [with the] Afcon final because we knew that we would meet again.

"This makes the match more difficult. We must play smart football and avoid making mistakes, and we have to come out with a positive result that will help us in the second leg."

The former defender has further stated his team has no problems in attack despite scoring one goal in the Group stage of Afcon en route to winning the biennial competition.

"We qualified with one goal in the group stage of the Africa Cup of Nations and after that, we were able to score six-seven goals, on the way to the final. We have no problem with our attack, and the players are able to change the course of the match," he continued.

"We are still hungry despite winning the final of the Africa Cup of Nations. The fact that we won the final against Egypt doesn’t mean we have no motives.

"The most difficult thing is to continue winning. The Senegalese players don’t need more motivation to win. We’re not satisfied with just the Africa Cup of Nations, which is another final for us."

Cisse then went on to state what he is expecting from his star attacker Sadio Mane: "I have no relationship with Mane, other than he gives everything to the national team."