Preview: Senegal vs. Congo DR – prediction, team news, lineups

EditorLast Update :
Preview: Senegal vs. Congo DR – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday’s World Cup Qualifying – Africa clash between Senegal and Congo DR, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Senegal and Congo DR are separated by a point in World Cup qualifying heading into Wednesday’s round three match at Stade Me Abdoulaye Wade.

Aliou Cisse‘s men have notched four points from an available six, and they aim to avoid losing against the Leopards, stunned by Sudan in November 2023.

Match preview

© Reuters

Senegal return to competitive action four months after their shock Africa Cup of Nations elimination by host nation Cote d’Ivoire in late January.

The Lions of Teranga were fancied to go all the way but could only reach a last 16 berth in a goal-laden finals engulfed by unexpected results.

Two friendly wins over Gabon (3-0) and Benin (1-0) have since followed, but they would mean little if the deposed African champions do not get the better of the DRC.

With no runaway leaders atop Group B, Senegal are keen to create separation from the chasing pack, as they currently rank level with Sudan on four points and one ahead of Sebastien Desabre‘s team.

Having never lost a World Cup qualifying home match, the home support will expect the former African champions to avoid defeat on Thursday.

DR Congo's Yoane Wissa celebrates after Meschack Elia scores their first goal on January 28, 2024© Reuters

Desabre’s men seek to become the first-ever away side to defeat Senegal in a World Cup qualifier, although the Leopards must perform at a higher level than they managed in their round two loss in Sudan.

That reverse followed the DRC’s 2-0 triumph over Mauritania, thus placing them third in the embryonic Group B standings heading into the third round of games.

A sequence of three road defeats in five World Cup qualifiers — including a 4-1 thrashing by Morocco in March 2022 — does not bode well for the visiting side’s prospects, and it remains to be seen if the Leopards secure their first away triumph in such games since notching a 3-0 win at Tanzania in November 2021.

Having shown their competence to reach the AFCON 2023 semi-finals — they held Morocco in the group stage and eliminated Egypt in the first knockout round — Desabre’s side hope to carry the same spirited showings into facing Senegal months later.

Losing will see DRC fall four points adrift of Cisse’s men after three games, a margin that could prove unassailable even with seven games left.

Senegal World Cup Qualifying – Africa form:

Senegal form (all competitions):

Congo DR World Cup Qualifying – Africa form:

Congo DR form (all competitions):

Team News

Senegal's Sadio Mane receives medical attention after sustaining an injury on January 25, 2022© Reuters

Several outlets have reported Sadio Mane‘s late withdrawal from the Senegal squad for both World Cup qualifying games, with the federation citing a knee injury.

That could mean increased responsibility for forwards like Chelsea’s Nicolas Jackson, Marseille pair Ismaila Sarr and Iliman Ndiaye and Saudi-based Habib Diallo.

Regulars like Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gueye, Lamine Camara and Pape Matar Sarr are expected to be involved.

Former Manchester United centre-back Axel Tuanzebe could make his DRC debut on Thursday, with Desabre expected to play the 26-year-old from the off. Noah Sadiki, Samuel Essende and Timothy Fayulu could also make their first appearance for the Leopards.

While Cedric Bakambu and Silas Katompa Mvumpa are missing June’s international games, Brentford forward Yoane Wissa aims to rise to the occasion as he is wont to do, allied with possible match-winners like Gael Kakuta, Theo Bongonda and Meschak Elia, while Arthur Masuaku‘s menace from full-back needs no introduction.

Senegal possible starting lineup:
Mendy; Sangante, Koulibaly, Niakhate, Diallo; Camara, Gueye, P. Sarr; Ndiaye, Diallo, I. Sarr

Congo DR possible starting lineup:
Bertaud; Kalulu, Mnemba, Tuanzebe, Masuaku; Pickel, Moutoussamy; Elia, Kakuta, Bongonda; Wissa

SM words green background

We say: Senegal 2-1 Congo DR

While both sides are without Mane (Senegal) and Bakambu (DRC), the Lions should have enough to edge their opponents in a close encounter with little separating the sides, keen to extend their 23-year undefeated run in home World Cup qualifying matches and claim a seventh straight win in such games in front of their supporters.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

ID:545157:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect12143:

Previews by email

Click here to get Sports Mole‘s daily email of previews and predictions for every major game!