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Home   /   Ecuador 1 – 2 Senegal – Match Report 

Senegal have knocked Ecuador out of the World Cup after a 2-1 win, with Senegal progressing from the group stage for just the second time in their history. 

Kalidou Koulibaly scored what turned out to be the vital goal to ensure Senegal advanced through to the knockout rounds. The Chelsea defender’s goal came just two minutes after Ecuador’s Moises Caicedo had drawn the team’s level, in a result that would have seen the South American side progress instead. 

The result means Senegal have now qualified for the knockout rounds of the World Cup on two occasions throughout their history, once in 2022 and once 20 years earlier in the South Korea/Japan World Cup.  

The ending to the previous tournament for the African side will surely make this result mean that much more to the nation. This being after the heartbreak in Russia 2018 which saw the African side become the first team to be eliminated from the group stages using the fair play rule, after themselves and Japan had finished on equal terms on all of the first six tiebreakers.  

While the whole of Senegal are certain to be ecstatic with this achievement, no one will be celebrating more than manager Aliou Cisse. The former Senegal captain has now led his side to the knockout stages both times in their history, with him captaining the side in 2002 as they knocked out France to reach the last-16 and managing his side this time around.  

This is seemingly a theme for Cisse who, as a player, took Senegal to their first ever African Cup of Nations Final in which he cruelly missed the penalty that lost his side the game. However, he went on to manage his side and take them to two more finals with them finally achieving victory in 2021 in a penalty shoutout over Egypt. 

While Cisse and the rest of Senegal will be celebrating this feat, they will have to prepare themselves for their next game which will see them matching up against the eventual winners of Group B, meaning they could see play England, USA or Iran depending on results.  

For Ecuador, however, they only have themselves to blame as their performance on the day was simply not good enough. Senegal controlled the game throughout the entirety of the 90 minutes, with them being especially dominant in the first half.  

Ecuador’s gameplan seemed to involve purely attacking and leaving defending to be an afterthought, which Senegal took complete advantage of. Early in the game Ismaila Sarr exploited the South American’s marauding full-backs and set Idrissa Gueye for a fantastic chance to open the scoring, but the midfielder couldn’t make the most of the opportunity.  

Minutes later Senegal squandered yet another chance as Boulaye Dia dragged his shot wide following poor defending from the Ecuadorian defence. 

Despite all these chances it still took Senegal until the last minute of the first half to score the opening goal of the game. Sarr was able to nip in front of Felix Torres and go past Piero Hincapie who then brought the Watford winger down inside the box, with Sarr proceeding to confidently tuck the penalty away and put his side ahead going into the break.  

Gustavo Alfaro made two changes at the break in an attempt to change the tide of the game in Ecuador’s favour as he changed shape to try and get his team on the ball more, and it looked to be working as his side finally started to get ahold of the ball and control the tempo of the game. Finally, in the 68th minute Ecuador were able to pull themselves back level thanks to Brighton’s Caicedo who turned home Torres’ flicked header from a corner to put Ecuador back into the qualification spaces. 

Ecuador’s moment of celebration was quickly taken away from them though as Senegal hit back to take their lead within mere minutes of the equaliser. Gueye’s delivery was nodded down inside the box and it fell to arguably the player Senegal fans would have least liked to see it drop to, their centre back Koulibaly. The man who had never previously scored for his nation before saved his first for the big occasion though, as his volley cannoned past Hernan Galindez who was left with no chance.  

The goal left Ecuador back in third place and, disappointingly, heading for elimination after coming into the game on the back of two good performances against Netherlands and Qatar and needing just a point to advance.  

Despite Ecuador throwing all of their men forward in their last-ditch attempts to keep their World Cup dream going, Edouard Mendy’s goal was never truly tested, and Senegal held out to take Ecuador’s place in the last 16. 

The disappointment for Ecuador is, unfortunately for them, something they have grown accustomed to within the country. From their four visits to the World Cup, they have been knocked out at the group stage for the third time, while they were knocked out straight away in the last 16 in 2006 against Germany. 

Elsewhere in the group the Netherlands beat Qatar 2-0 meaning that they finish top of the group while Senegal finished in second place. This means that the Netherlands will be playing second place in Group B in their first knockout game of the tournament, while Senegal will be playing first place.  

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May 2024