Senegal women 2023 World Cup dream crushed

A disappointing FIFA Women’s World Cup tournament play-off tournament ended in a creditable and entertaining draw for Thailand and Senegal.

These sides, who had seen their hopes of reaching Aus­tralia and New Zealand 2023 dashed by defeats to Cam­eroon and Haiti respectively, traded goals either side of half-time in an incident-laden encounter.

This match provided a stark and intriguing clash of styles, with the Asians’ neat, technical inter-play matched against the speed and athleticism of their African opponents.

Initially, Thailand enjoyed the upper hand, and it was no more than they deserved when Janista Jinantuya fired them into a 17th-minute lead.

Much of the credit for the goal belonged to Jiraporn Mongkoldee, who closed down Senegal’s defence, snatched possession and crossed perfectly for her attacking colleague to direct home an excellent first-time left-foot finish.

The Lionesses respond­ed well to that early setback, though, and created the better of the chances as the match wore on. Nguenar Ndiaye even rattled the crossbar in first-half stoppage time as Senegal tight­ened their grip on proceedings.

An equaliser looked to be inevitable and, sure enough, one arrived from the penalty spot on 67 minutes, with Awa Ndeye Diakhate wrong-foot­ing the keeper, after a foul by Thailand skipper Phonphirun­Philawan.

Senegal will feel unfortu­nate not to have gone on to win, with the luckless Ndiaye hitting the bar once again as the clock ticked down.

But neither side could find a winner and both will now return home to begin plotting a path to the next Women’s World Cup in 2027. —

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