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WAFCON 2022: Senegal squeeze into Women’s World Cup playoffs

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Senegal have kept their 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup dream alive as they booked their place in the inter-continental playoff next year by defeating Tunisia 4-2 on penalties in their 2022 Women’s Africa Cup of Nations repechage clash in Casablanca on Sunday.

The match finished 0-0 after 90 minutes but it was the west Africans who held their nerve in the shootout as substitute Korka Fall slotted the winning penalty to send the sizeable Senegalese support in the stands into raptures.

Mariem Houij saw her penalty saved by Senegal goalkeeper Ndeye and Ghada Ayadi put her effort wide as Tunisia fell agonisingly short of keeping their World Cup hopes alive.

Senegal will advance to the 10-team global playoffs in New Zealand in February, where they will contest for the three remaining spots available at the finals.

They join Taiwan, Thailand, Haiti and Panama as four sides who have already booked their places in that tournament.

Tunisia had the first chance in the game when winger Houij found herself with a clear sight of goal, but her low shot was saved by Diaw.

Senegal almost took the lead on 17 minutes when a mix-up at the back by Tunisia allowed Nguenar Ndiaye to flick a finish towards goal, but the north Africans’ goalkeeper Soulayma Jebrani rescued the situation with a good save.

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Minutes later Ndiaye fired over the bar before Tunisia had a strong shout for a penalty when Houij was clattered in the back by Senegal defender Meta Camara, who was perhaps fortunate there was no sanction handed to her.

There was another huge shout for a penalty early in the second half and this time it was Senegal doing the pleading as Mama Diop was felled by Jebrani, but the Video Assistant Referee alerted Eswatini referee Letticia Viana to a foul in the build-up.

There were few chances as both teams began to tire after what has been an arduous campaign and in the end the match was settled via spot-kicks.