Senegal win leaves hosts Qatar on brink

The World Cup hopes of host Qatar were hanging by a thread after a 3-1 loss to Senegal that leaves them bottom of Group A and facing elimination just five days after a 2-0 loss to Ecuador.

Qatar showed some flashes of exciting attacking play, but the reigning Asian champions were undone by sloppy defending that was punished by a Senegalese side that were that little bit better in every department.

Qatar can have few complaints - it took them until the 63rd minute of their second match to register a shot on target, when Almoez Ali forced a fine save from Edouard Mendy.

Qatar should probably have had a penalty when Ismaila Sarr bundled over Akram Afif, but Spanish referee Antonio Mateu waved away their pleas and VAR did not intervene.

In the end it took a catastrophic mistake for Senegal to break the deadlock and unfortunately for Qatar defender Boualem Khoukhi it was his.

His attempt to clear a routine low pass into the box by Krepin Diatta went disastrously wrong. He fluffed his clearance, allowing Boulaye Dia to pounce, and he rattled home the opening goal just before the break.

Famara Diedhou doubled Senegal's advantage with a brilliant glancing header at the near post from an Ismail Jakobs corner in the 48th minute.

Mohammed Muntari headed in powerfully to reduce the deficit in the 78th from Ismail Mohamad's cross - Qatar's first ever goal at a World Cup.

But Senegal were never in serious danger as they continued to out-muscle their opponents in midfield.

Six minutes after Muntari's strike, Bamba Dieng swept home a pass form fellow substitute Iliman Ndiaye for the African side's third to consign Qatar to the bottom of Group A with no points, while their group rivals all have three.

In truth, with the Netherlands still to come, the Qataris have next to no chance of making it out of the group, but coach Felix Sanchez told reporters that he and his team had never expected to set the world on fire, despite being at home.

"Expectations were set to give a good performance and organise a good World Cup, and that is the case," he told a news conference.

He praised his players for their efforts. "We wanted to show what we could do on the pitch - most of our opponents are ahead of us in many ways, but we managed to show what we can do."

The 46-year-old Spaniard pointed out how being a small country with a small population had hindered the national team

Now, though, they must meet the Netherlands in what will almost surely be their final game at this event.

"We have to prepare for the Netherlands, and we know it's going to be an even tougher game against them - a great opponent, with some great players," Sanchez said.