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World Cup 2022 qualifiers: Egypt calls for rematch against Senegal

Egypt Football Association chief calls on Fifa to replay match following 'attacks' against its players in Dakar on Tuesday
Egyptian star Mohamed Salah leaves the pitch under hostile circumstances, following Egypt's defeat against Senegal on 29 March 2022 in Dakar, Senegal (Screengrab/Reuters)

Egypt on Thursday called for its World Cup qualifier against Senegal to be replayed after they were “attacked” by Senegalese fans. 

The Pharaohs failed to make it to the tournament in Qatar following a penalty shootout loss to Senegal on Tuesday.

The Egyptian team won the first leg 1-0 in Cairo last week, while Senegal matched that result over 120 minutes in the return leg in Dakar, forcing the game into a shootout.

'The Egyptian team was subjected to racism after the appearance of offensive banners in the stands aimed at the players, specifically Mohamed Salah'

- Egypt FA statement

The match was marred by scores of fans shining green lasers at Egypt’s players to distract them, including at superstar Mohamed Salah, whose penalty sailed over the bar. 

Gamal Hassan, the head of Egypt’s Football Association, urged Fifa to have the match replayed. 

He called on former Egyptian FA head and current Fifa Council member Hani Abu Rida, sports administrator Hassan Moustafa, and other Egyptian sports officials to intervene to support the national team. 

Hassan said that he had “asked to meet Fifa President Gianni Infantino as well as Patrice Motsepe, president of the Confederation of African Football,” during the Fifa Congress in Qatar on Thursday.

“We asked for a replay of the match because the match was held in a strange atmosphere, and if we had lost in normal circumstances, we would have congratulated Senegal,” Hassan said, as quoted by Youm7 Sport.

"We will present what happened to the disciplinary committee in the Federation and await a response. There are many things that happened with us in the match. Our players were attacked.

"Mohamed Salah [received] the most share of the Senegalese fans' attacks, which tried to intimidate the players as well, and we asked that the board of directors be on the bench of the match but they refused."

'Terrorised'

On Wednesday, the Egyptian FA lodged an official complaint against Senegal, stating that they were subject to racism and "terrorised" by the home fans in Dakar.

"The Egyptian team was subjected to racism after the appearance of offensive banners in the stands aimed at the players, specifically Mohamed Salah," it said in a statement. 

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"The Senegalese fans terrorised the Egyptian players by throwing bottles and stones at them during the warm-up, as well as attacking the Egyptian team bus, which caused glass shattering and some injuries."

Footage emerged online of fans throwing objects at Salah as he was leaving the pitch, and of fans holding signs and jerseys with the words “Fuck you Salah”. 

The use of lasers was a huge talking point on social media, and the subject of memes and criticism online - though some were quick to point out that Egyptians themselves were no strangers to the distraction tactic.  

Algeria also failed to qualify for the World Cup in dramatic circumstances.

Tunisia, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Qatar will be the Middle East and North Africa names in the draw that takes place on Friday.