Sports Desk, Jan 30 (EFE).- A goal from Crystal Palace center Cheikou Kouyate, with the Senegalese national soccer team, taking advantage of momentary indecision on the part of the rival Equatorial Guinea squad, on Sunday put the team on the irreversible path to its 3-1 win in the African Cup of Nations quarterfinals in Douala, Cameroon.
With the win, Senegal now moves to the semifinals, although the Equatorial Guinea team, coached by Juan Micha, played to the limit and even had hopes of making it to the finals for the first time in the history of the tourney.
However, Senegal, coached by Aliou Cisse, showed more experience in securing for itself a berth among the four top teams for the sixth time, with Liverpool striker Sadio Mane dominating the action and getting the team’s scoring going at the half-hour mark.
Mane sent a pass to Famara Diedhiou, who fired a perfect shot-on-goal for the 1-0, beating goaltender Jesus Owono, who plays for Alaves.
But Equatorial Guinea wasn’t deterred, reacting well and in the second half showed definite improvement. With considerably more daring, the squad equaled at about the hour mark with Nastic midfielder Jannick Buyla taking a great pass from Real Murcia’s Pablo Ganet and firing a shot that Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy could not react in time to stop.
But just when Micha’s men were seeming to find their stride, Senegal went ahead once again, putting an end to their rivals’ hopes. It was a defensive error that led to the tally, with Cadiz defender Carlos Akapo and Las Palmas midfielder Saul Coco mistakenly sending a header toward their own netminder, whereupon Kouyate moved into the breach and, with a light tap, put the ball into the twine for the 2-1.
At that point, the match opened up, with Equatorial Guinea trying hard for the draw, albeit without much organization. With 10 minutes to go before the final whistle, Saliou Ciss moved into the area and knocked the ball to Ismaila Sarr, whereupon the Watford striker didn’t hesitate, shooting right into the net for the 3-1.
Senegal next goes up against Burkina Faso in the semifinals on Wednesday.