#2022WorldCup: Senegal 1st African team to Advance

Senegal

Senegal advanced to the second round of the World Cup for the first time in 20 years after defeating Ecuador, 2-1.

Senegal dominated the first half with a relentless attack. Free kicks, corner kicks, shots on goal, Senegal did it all and created opportunity after opportunity but failed to score. Then, in the final minute of the first half, they got their first real chance.

Ecuador’s Piero Hincapie body slammed Ismaila Sarr, earning a yellow card. Sarr lined up for the penalty kick and fired a shot low and to the left of Hernán Galíndez, who stopped in his tracks and watched the ball fly by.

Ecuador, even with their star, Enner Valencia, had trouble finding a rhythm. That changed in the second half when Ecuador made two substitutions and took control. They played more aggressively, with their midfielders and strikers pressing and creating opportunities.

Ecuador scored its first goal off a free kick in the 67th minute. Moises Caicedo nailed a header into the back of the goal and Ecuador’s fans — the majority in the stadium — erupted, drowning out the drums of Senegal’s fans.

But the celebration was short-lived.

Barely two minutes later, Kalidou Koulibaly, Senegal’s captain, let the ball bounce once after a poor clearance in the box and fired in a right-footed shot past Galíndez, a shot that secured Senegal’s place in the second round.