By Afeseh Apong
Premier league duo, Cheikhou Kouyaté and Ismaila Saar, came off the bench to secure Senegal a place in the semi final of the 33rd edition of the AFCON.
The Teranga lions overpowered Equatorial Guinea three goals to one, in the last quarter final game played at the Ahmadou Ahidjo stadium on Sunday evening.
Equatorial Guinea looked lively in the opening segments of the game, with Edu Salvador and Emilio Nsue putting the Senegalese defense on constant alert.
Sadio Mane orchestrated most of the offensive for the Teranga lions, and served Famara Diedhiou with a well measured pass at the 28 minute, to put Senegal ahead.
South African referee Victor Miguel Gomes, awarded Equatorial Guinea a penalty at the 54th minute after Edu Salvador’s pass appeared to have touched the hand of a Senegalese defender in their 12 yard box, but the penalty decision was overturned following a VAR check.
57 minutes on, Jannick Buyla Sam started a swift offensive for The Nzalang Nacional, and was at the other end to finish off Pablo Ganet’s pass to put the game one goal either side.
Coach Aliou Cissé of Senegal brought in Watford’s forward Ismaila Saar to replace Boulaye Dia and Later on Cheikh Dieng and Cheikhou Kouyaté came on to replace Famara Diedhiou and Pape Gueye.
Cheikhou Kouyaté made an immediate impact, as he benefited from a defensive howler from Equatorial Guinea, to put Senegal in front at the 68 minute.
There was still time for Ismaila Saar to get off the mark in his first AFCON 2021 game, as he combined beautifully with Saliou Ciss, to put the game beyond Equatorial Guinea’s reach at the 79 minute.
The coming on of Ruben Belima, Pedro Oba, Santiago Eneme and Alex Balboa, could not Change situations for the Nzalang Nacional, as their sensational AFCON came to an end.
Senegal are through to the semi final and will face the Stallions of Burkina, who knocked out Tunisia on Saturday in Garoua.
Senegal are in the haunt for their first continental crown, after losing at the finals in 2002 and 2019.
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