Senegal outsmart Equatorial Guinea to qualify for semifinal

Senegal’s Lions of Teranga have booked a place in the semi-final stage at the on-going TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations 2021.

Coach Aliou Cissé’s side defeated Equatorial Guinea 3-1 in the last quarter final match played this evening at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon.

Famara Diedhiou, Cheikhou Kouyaté and Ismaïla Sarr netted the goals for Senegal, while Jannick Buyla Sam scored for the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea.

Pape Gueye of Senegal challenged by Josete Miranda of Equatorial Guinea during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Quarterfinal match between Senegal and Equatorial Guinea

Senegal started the match on a high with Sadio Mane, Nampalys Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly all keeping the Equatorial Guinea defenders busy. But the Nzalanga Nacional team kept themselves in the game with good defending and few attacks upfront.

After 28 minutes Famara Diedhiou gave Senegal the lead when he capitalized on a well placed Sadio Mane cross to score past Equatorial Guinea’s goalkeeper Jesus Lazaro Owono.

After missing the target seven minutes earlier, Diedhiou this time outpaced two Equatorial Guinea defenders and made no mistake giving Senegal the lead.

The Lions of Teranga continued to push forward as the Equatorial Guinea team also tried to close out the attacks.

Famara Diedhiou of Senegal takes a shot and scores the opening goal during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Quaterfinal match between Senegal and Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea’s got their best chance after 45 minutes with Pablo Ganet’s shot parried back into play by Senegal’s goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

In the second half the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea players thought they had got a penalty after 50 minutes, but it was not awarded after consultation with the VAR.

But coach Juan Micha’s team did not give up and pushed forward in search of goals. Their efforts paid off after 57 minutes when Jannick Buyla Sam leveled matters after some good inter passing.

But after 68 minutes Senegal substitute Cheikhou Kouyaté put his team back into the lead with a flick past the Equatorial guinea goalkeeper. Kouyaté who had replaced Pape Gueye after 65 minutes capitalized on a poor clearance by defender Carlos Akapo Martinez flicked the ball past advancing goalkeeper Owono Ngua.

Famara Diedhiou of Senegal celebrates goal with teammates during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations Afcon Finals Quarterfinal match between Senegal and Equatorial Guinea (2)

Another substitute for Senegal Ismaïla Sarr netted the third goal with a tap-in from close range after 79 minutes. Mane ran on the left flank and crossed in the box for Sarr to tap-in to make it 3-1.

Senegal had Saliou Ciss and Pape Gueye booked, while referee Victor Miguel De Freitas Gomes also cautioned Equatorial Guinea’s José Machín

The Teranga Lions of Senegal will now face Burkina Faso in the semi-final stage on February 2nd. Senegal who have never lifted the AFCON trophy have only finished runners-up in 2002 and 2019.

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The draw for the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations, Côte d’Ivoire 2023 was conducted in Johannesburg, South Africa on Tuesday evening, with exciting matches lined up towards next year’s tournament.

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