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Qatar World Cup: Hosts knocked out following defeat by Senegal

Qatar's hopes of advancing ended by second defeat, but Muntari's goal gives home fans something to cheer
Qatari forward Hassan al-Haydos is congratulated as he leaves the pitch after Qatar's defeat by Senegal (AFP)

Qatar's hopes of advancing to the knockout stages of the World Cup ended on Friday - less than a week into the tournament - as the hosts were beaten 3-1 by Senegal in their second group match.

Senegal, the African champions, scored either side of half time at Doha's Al Thumama Stadium to take control of the match, before Qatari forward Mohammed Muntari headed home in the 78th minute to give the home fans something to cheer about.

Hopes of a comeback were quickly dashed however as Marseille striker Bamba Dieng fired home in the 84th minute to win the match for the West African nation.

The defeat was Qatar's second in Group A following their 2-0 loss to Ecuador in the opening game of the tournament last Sunday in which they failed to record a single shot on target.

Following the Netherlands' 1-1 draw with Ecuador later on Friday, it means Qatar are out of the tournament with one group match still to play against the Dutch on Tuesday.

Qatar at least produced a better performance against Senegal, mounting a number of attacks in the second half and scoring a well-crafted and deserved goal through Muntari.

Qatar players celebrate after scoring their first goal in the World Cup.
Mohammed Muntari celebrates scoring his team's first goal with Qatar's defender Pedro Miguel during the 2022 World Cup match between Qatar and Senegal (AFP)

"I do think we played a good game," said Qatar's coach, Felix Sanchez.

“Our goal was to be competitive. We’ve been working for so many months to be able to give a good performance. But sometimes the match does not play out as you expect. It also depends on the opponents’ performance. We didn’t play at our top level. We were competitive but didn’t improve."

Qatar's hopes of remaining in the tournament rested on Ecuador beating the Netherlands in the day's other Group A match at Doha's Khalifa International Stadium.

Hopes of a victory for the South American side looked distant when Cody Gakpo scored for the Dutch after six minutes. But Enner Valencia equalised for Ecuador with his third goal of the tournament early in the second half of an even contest.

The result leaves Qatar bottom of the group with no points and set to end the tournament with the worst record for a host nation. In 2010, hosts South Africa failed to get out of the group stages but earned four points, beating France and drawing with Mexico.

Iran stun Wales

Earlier on Friday, Iran stormed back from their opening Group B defeat to England, beating Wales 2-0 courtesy of two goals deep into stoppage time from Rouzbeh Cheshmi and Ramin Rezaeian.

Iranian fans told MEE the victory was a moment of happiness amidst great political strife at home. "After two months of bad news, let's forget everything for 10 seconds and celebrate," one Iranian activist said.

In the same group, England was held to a draw against the United States later on Friday. The US maintained their unbeaten streak against England in World Cups.

The US drew to Wales in their opening game and will face Iran in the group's final round of matches. The Iran-US match is set up as a decisive match with Iran and the US both strongly in contention for a place in the last 16.

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