Senegal: The Teranga Lions held but still reach AFCON last 16

Despite a tough struggle to the top, the Teranga Lions have managed to reach round of 16 [Image: courtesy]
Senegal—Notwithstanding the re-emergence of stars Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Idrissa Gueye, Senegal had a nil-nil draw against Malawi in Bafoussam on Tuesday.

However. Senegalese still topped Group B at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon)

Minnows Malawi came third and will wait until Thursday to see if they will be among the best four third-placed teams for second-round qualification.

Despite stepping in AFCON as one of the favorites, Senegal has won only once and scored only once — from a Sadio Mane penalty — in three games.

Senegal, which was a runner-up to Algeria at the last Cup of Nations in 2019, needed 97 minutes to beat Zimbabwe and were held by Guinea and Malawi, who are 109 places lower in the world ratings.

When Gomezgani Chirwa had his shirt pulled by Bouna Sarr, Malawi believed they should have been awarded a penalty in the second half but the referee disagreed after looking at the VAR monitor.

As the Teranga Lions sought a late goal, they introduced midfielder Pape Gueye off the bench in place of ineffective Boulaye Dia.

Boulaya was barred by Fifa last week over a disputed transfer from Watford to Marseille, took his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and won.

Goalkeeper Mendy and defender Koulibaly missed the first two matches and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Gueye the second due to Covid-19.