A young Senegal side captained by Papiss Cisse made a decent game of their first-leg playoff match versus Ivory Coast... at least for the first 65 minutes or so. A 2-2 scoreline midway through the second half of the away leg of their Africa Cup of Nations playoff meant that they were looking at a huge advantage heading into the home portion of the tie. Unfortunately, the last 20 minutes of the match looked like they were already back home in Senegal - especially for the defense. A Didier Drogba penalty gave the Ivory Coast a 3-2 lead (although the penalty may have been a little harsh) followed quickly by a fourth goal left Senegal looking beleaguered and in shock. This result leaves the Teranga Lions needing a 2-goal victory in the return leg of this playoff in order to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The news will always be mixed for Newcastle with regard to this tie, a victory for Ivory Coast means that we will lose Cheik Tiote for January while a victory for Senegal means the loss of Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba. On the good news side, if today was any indication, Papiss Cisse found his audaciousness that served him so well in the first half of this calendar year, scoring on a header from fully 20 yards away from goal. Hopefully he will continue that form when he gets back on Tyneside!