QATAR: Senegal defeated Ecuador 2-1 on Tuesday at the Khalifa International Stadium to advance to the World Cup’s quarterfinals. Winger Ismaila Sarr kept his cool to score a penalty kick in the first half, and captain Kalidou Koulibaly scored the second goal.
After earning the penalty kick for himself, Sarr converted it in the 44th minute. However, Moises Caicedo scored an equalizer for Ecuador, who needed only a draw to advance to the knockout rounds.
However, the joy for the South Americans didn’t last long as Koulibaly restored Senegal’s lead three minutes later, which they could hold onto for the remainder of the match.
The African champions are second in Group A with six points from their three matches. They are one point behind the winners, Netherlands, and two points ahead of Ecuador, whose tournament held a lot of promise but ended in bitter disappointment.
Senegal qualified for the knockouts at the expense of Ecuador
Senegal dominated the opening period against an opponent who was content to sit back and attempt to absorb the pressure. The stadium was filled with the steady thumping of African drums.
Early on, Senegal’s Idrissa Gana Gueye missed a shot, and Senegal’s Boulaye Dia missed an opportunity for a goal with a shot that went wide of the far post.
Late in the first half, Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie pounded into Sarr. The Senegal footballer got up to take a penalty kick and deposited the ball in the bottom corner of the goal, leaving goalkeeper Hernan Galindez rooted to the spot.
Senegal’s contentment with their passive defence countered Ecuador’s desperate push for an equalizer in the second half.
Felix Torres sent in a corner midway through the half, and Caicedo scored from the back post unchallenged for a straightforward finish to score the equalizer for Ecuador.
Since Ivan Kaviedes in 2006, he is the only player other than Enner Valencia to score for Ecuador at the World Cup.
The substantial Ecuadorian crowd in the stands burst into song, but shortly after that, Senegal struck again.
Koulibaly volleyed the ball into the net from six yards out after the South American team failed to clear a corner.
For the first time in 20 years, the African team advanced from their World Cup group to the knockout stages. The qualification to the last 16 stage was primarily due to their first-half performance against Ecuador, who knew they only needed a point to advance.