Host country Qatar was on the verge of an early elimination from its own World Cup on Friday after a 3-1 defeat to Senegal.
Goals either side of half-time from Boulaye Dia and Famara Diedhiou gave Senegal the lead before Qatar substitute Mohammed Muntari answered in the 78th minute to complete a dramatic final.
Senegalese substitute Bamba Dieng scored six minutes later to put the result beyond dispute and the African champion, who opened with a 2-0 loss against the Netherlands, immediately back into the battle in group A.
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The defeat left Qatar’s bottom side sweating on results elsewhere if they don’t want to follow South Africa in 2010 as the only second World Cup host to drop out after the first round.
Their elimination would be confirmed if Ecuador fails to beat the Netherlands later in the day, and would make Qatar the first World Cup host to go out after two matches.
Qatar had started the tournament nervously with a 2-0 defeat to Ecuador and against Senegal they again looked cautious.
The Asian champions dropped their goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb to the bench after his shaky performance in the opener.
His replacement Meshaal Barsham did not inspire much confidence in the early stages, fluttering at a corner as Senegal pressed for the opening goal.
Ismaila Sarr and Nampalys Mendy had already missed scoring opportunities for Senegal by then, and Idrissa Gana Gueye and Youssouf Sabaly wasted more as the first half progressed.
– Qatar almost out –
Qatar spent most of the first 45 minutes on the back foot, but a rare strike forward left Akram Afif outraged that he was not awarded a penalty after being bundled by Sarr.
Senegal looked like they would go into half-time without breaking Qatar’s resistance, only for the hosts to gift them a goal in the 41st minute.
Qatari defender Boualem Koukhi fluffed a clearance to leave Dia to jump on the loose ball and blast past Barsham.
Senegal doubled their lead almost immediately after the break when Diedhiou netted a header at the near post from a corner kick.
Qatar started showing much more attacking ambition from two goals down and Afif was involved throughout.
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Almoez Ali forced a fingertip save from Senegal goalkeeper Eduoard Mendy before the Chelsea man saved the Africans again from an effort from Isamil Mohamad.
Mendy was rooted to his line as Muntari pulled one back for Qatar, moving powerfully to Mohamad’s cross to drag the hosts back into it.
The goal lifted the crowd and sent Qatar forward in search of another, but Dieng nipped the upswing in the bud in the 84th minute as he swept the ball home for Senegal’s third.
Abdelkarim Hassan then hit a free kick just wide of the post as Qatar tried to hit back, but Senegal held on to clinch victory.
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