AFCON 2017: Teranga Lions reach next round


Senegal became the first team qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament, their first since 2006, after a 2-0 win over Zimbabwe in their Group B Day Two clash on Thursday in Franceville.

Sadio Mane and Henri Saivet each scored in the first half to ensure the Teranga Lions made it two wins out of two, and maintain their status as the only side with a 100 per cent record at the tournament so far.

It is the first time since 2006 that Senegal has gone past the group stage after disastrous outings is in 2008, 2012 and 2015.

The West Africans were by far the better side, clearly outplaying a Zimbabwean side that showed so much promise in their opening match against Algeria last Sunday. It was a disappointing performance from the Southern Africans whose efforts were neutralized by the Senegalese in every department.

Right from the start, it was the Lions all the way firing from all cylinders and it was only a matter of time that the opener would come. Barely four minutes into the game, pacy forward Keita Balde tested the Zimbabwean defence with a shot that missed narrowly.

The Senegal attack consisting of Balde, Mane and Mame Biram Diouf were too tall a mountain for the Zimbabwean backline to handle, largely aided by the midfield dominance of captain Cheikhou Kouyate and Idrisa Gueye.

On nine minutes, Mane tapped in a Keita shot at the far corner for the opener before Saivet doubled the lead four minutes later with a spectacular free-kick just outside the penalty area that left Zimbabwe goalie Tatenda Mkuruva with little to do.

The Lions continued to dominate possession with Balde and Diouf failing to increase the tally until half time.

It was no different in the second half as Senegal remained in control but erratic shooting by Balde and Mane coupled with some superb saves from Mkuruva ensured the scoreline ended with the two goals from the opening half.

Diouf missed a sitter just back from recess and minutes later, Mane saw his shot at goal cleared off the line by Zimbabwe defender Costa Nhamoinesu.

The Warriors best chance at goal was on 71 minutes when Nyasha Mushekwi unleashed a shot that Senegal goalie Abdoulaye Diallo fisted to safety.

The final minutes belonged to the Lions, severally threatening the Zimbabwean rear but Balde and substitute Moussa Sow were denied by Mkuruva.

Senegal next play Algeria in the ultimate Group B match on Monday, 23 January 2017 in Franceville whilst Tunisia battles Zimbabwe in Libreville.

Total Man of the Match
Cheikhou Kouyate (Senegal)

Aliou Cisse (Head Coach, Senegal)
The most important thing is that we won. It was the expectation of the whole country (Senegal) and I congratulate the players meeting that expectation. Today we have a generation with so much quality, and as a coach I have to work on changing the mentality which is an important element. The objective is to uplift the level of football on the continent. The result we see now did not start today. It started long ago. I have never doubted the quality of my team. They (players) have to stop putting themselves under pressure and this one aspect I have been working on.
The third match [against Algeria] is as important as all other matches, and we hope to continue on the same path.

Kalisto Pasuwa (Head Coach, Zimbabwe)
We were unsettled in the first 20 minutes. It was two quick goals that unsettled the team and our boys were jittery too. But for the two early goals, we would have seen some good football from my boys. The Senegalese were very physical and due to that one of my key players, Khama (Billiat) was running away from receiving balls. This is the kind of football you should expect at this level. We lost but it is not over.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *