It has already been a year to remember for Sadio Mane and Senegal, before a ball has even been kicked at the Qatar World Cup.
In February, Aliou Cisse's men lifted the Africa Cup of Nations for the first time after overcoming Egypt and Mohamed Salah 4-2 on penalties in Cameroon, with Mane scoring the crucial goal in the shoot-out.
Less than two months later, the two nations were clashing again, this time in a World Cup qualifier to secure a place in the first finals ever to be held in the Middle East.
Once again, the Lions of Teranga came out on top in a shoot-out and, once again, Mane converted the match-winning penalty after Salah – then a Liverpool teammate of Mane, who would go on to join Bayern Munich in the summer – had missed one for Egypt.
“I want to congratulate everyone on the World Cup qualification,” manager Cisse said after the match. “I would have visited every fan who supported us to thank them if I could.
“Everyone was united, I want to thank the people who built this stadium and the journalists who criticised us, they were all a part of our success.”
In Qatar, Senegal were drawn in Group A alongside Qatar, Ecuador and the Netherlands.
Senegal's fixtures in Qatar
November 21 Senegal v Netherlands – Al Thumama Stadium (2pm UAE)
November 25 Qatar v Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium (5pm)
November 29 Netherlands v Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium (7pm)
Second round (Group H)
September 1, 2021 Senegal 2 (Mane 56, A. Diallo 81') Togo 0
September 7, 2021 Congo 1 (Ganvoula pen 45+2') Senegal 3 (Dia 27', I. Sarr 82', Mane 87')
October 9, 2021 Senegal 4 (Gueye 10', Diedhiou 38', Mane 54', Keita 83') Namibia 1 (Kamatuka 75')
October 12, 2021 Namibia 1 (Shalulile 27') Senegal 3 (Diedhiou 22', 51', 84')
November 11, 2021 Togo 1 (Cisse 45+1') Senegal 1 (H. Diallo 90+3')
November 14, 2021 Senegal 2 (I. Sarr 14', 24') Congo 0
First leg: March 25, 2022 Egypt 1 (Ciss og 4') Senegal 0
Second leg: March 29, 2022 Senegal 1 (Fathi og 4') Egypt 0 (AET) Senegal won 3-1 on penalties