Queiroz hails Egypt's fighting spirit after narrow win over Senegal

Hatem Maher , Saturday 26 Mar 2022

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz said he was proud with the way his team kept Senegal at bay in a 1-0 home win in the first leg of the World Cup qualifying playoff on Friday, insisting that they would need to double their efforts in Dakar to reach the Qatar finals.

 Carlos Queiroz
Egypt s coach Carlos Queiroz instructs his players during the 2022 Qatar World Cup African Qualifiers football match between Egypt and Senegal at Cairo International Stadium in the Egyptian capital on March 25, 2022 (AFP)

An early own goal from Senegal defender Saliou Ciss gave Egypt a slim advantage, with the hosts then surviving an onslaught from their vibrant opponents at a packed Cairo Stadium.

Although clear-cut chances were scarce, Egypt were put under intense pressure as their defenders held firm in the face of numerous crosses from both flanks.

"When it was necessary to defend as a team and fight, you saw one of the most brave Egyptians fighting on the pitch," Portuguese coach Queiroz said in English during the post-match news conference.

"At a certain point of the game, it is normal in football that the team which is losing double their efforts. They start to put the ball forward and put pressure on our defenders. Our team was forced to regroup.

"With amazing fantastic fighting spirit, we got back into the game and controlled Senegal and finished on top."

Queiroz was visibly angry after some reporters appeared to criticise his game-plan, saying that they simply disregarded Senegal's strength.

He said Egypt had to suffer, given the quality Senegal boast, while underlining the tough test that awaits his side in Tuesday's second leg in Dakar.

"It's a 0-0 World Cup game, everything is open. We need to be more powerful, we need to do it double. We need to defend with 15 or 16 players. We will probably need to fight for our lives in Dakar," he added.

"History does not talk about those who play better. As we know, Italy played well yesterday against Macedonia and they are out of the World Cup."

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