Senegal defeated Ecuador 2-1 on Tuesday at the Khalifa International Stadium to advance to the round of 16 of the World Cup. Winger Ismaila Sarr scored a first-half penalty and captain Kalidou Koulibaly added a second.
Sarr successfully converted his own-goal penalty in the 44th minute, but Ecuador, who just needed a draw to advance to the knockout stages, equalized through Moises Caicedo.
Happiness for the South Americans was short-lived, though, as Koulibaly gave Senegal the lead again, which they were able to keep for the rest of the match.
The African champions finish second in Group A with six points from their three games, one point behind group winners Netherlands and two points ahead of
With six points from their three games, the African champions place second in Group A, one point behind group winners Netherlands and two points ahead of Ecuador, whose tournament had so much potential but ended in heartbreaking failure.
Senegal dominated the opening period against a team content to sit back and try to withstand the pressure while there was continual drumming from throughout Africa in the stadium.
Early on, Senegal attacker Boulaye Dia had a great opportunity to score but missed the far post after having a clear look at goal. Idrissa Gana Gueye also missed with a shot.
Late in the half, Sarr was fouled by Ecuadorian defender Piero Hincapie and got up to take the penalty, leaving goalkeeper Hernan Galindez frozen to the spot as the shot settled in the bottom corner. This was the pivotal moment.
The game’s momentum turned in the second half as Ecuador desperately tried to score an equalizer while Senegal
It came about halfway through the half when Caicedo was unmarked at the back post and Felix Torres flicked on a corner for a straightforward finish. Since Ivan Kaviedes in 2006, he is the only player except Enner Valencia to have scored for Ecuador at a World Cup.
Celebrations from the sizeable Ecuadorian crowd in the stands were cut short when Senegal scored once more.
The South American team failed to successfully clear a corner, and Koulibaly was able to volley the ball into the goal from six yards away.