Jonty Mark

By Jonty Mark

Football Editor


Koulibaly fires Senegal into World Cup last 16

The Senegal captain volleys in the winner to bring joy to Africa.


Kalidou Koulibaly chose the perfect time to score his first international goal on Tuesday, as the Senegal captain grabbed the winner in a 2-1 victory over Ecuador to send the Teranga Lions into the last 16 of the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar.

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Senegal knew they were likely to need a win from the start and went at Ecuador accordingly, Aliou Cisse’s men turning in an excellent first half performance.

Idrissa Gueye is more known for his midfield graft than scoring prowess, and perhaps that is why he wasted a gilt-edged chance in just the third minute, firing wide with the goal gaping.

Boulaye Dia also squandered a great opportunity, but just as it appeared Senegal might go into the break all square, Ismaila Sarr burst into the box and was hacked down by Piero Hincapie. The same player dusted himself down and slid a brilliant spot kick into the corner of the net.

Ecuador had more fire after the break, though they still created little from open play. In the 66th minute, Gueye picked up a booking that will see him miss the Teranga Lions’ last 16 match.

Two minutes later, it looked even bleaker for Senegal as Brighton’s Moises Caicedo found an equaliser, steering home after Felix Torres had flicked on Gonzalo Plata’s corner.

But Senegal were back in front just two minutes after that, Ecuador making a hash of clearing a free kick, and Koulibaly volleying gleefully home.

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