The coach of the Teranga Lions of Senegal, Aliou Cisse has heaped plaudits on their quarter-final opponents Equatorial Guinea by saying the victory over them didn’t come easy.
He said this during a post-game presser on Sunday night.
Senegal had to dig deep into the second-half, they required goals from second-half substitutes Ismaila Sarr of Watford and Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouayte to progress to the last four.
“We played a hard-fought game against a good Equatorial Guinean team. We had the mentality to score three goals.
We must congratulate the opposing team who were technically capable of creating problems for us.
We must remember a good victory tonight, synonymous with qualifying for the semi-finals.
We have had a very difficult start to our preparations, but we worked well afterwards and today we are gaining momentum.
We must not get carried away because against Burkina Faso, it will be a big battle.
Aliou Cisse said after the encounter.
The Senegalese side were fortunate to have their star man Sadio Mane who was a major doubt prior to the time the match was played but passed a late fitness test to be able to feature for his side.
Senegal opened scoring early in the 18th minute – a build-up which started from the defence got to Sadio Mane who plopped in a defence-splitting pass into the box to find Famara Diedhiou who made no mistake in putting it past Equatorial Guinea goalie Jesus Owono. Senegal would hold on to that 1-0 lead into the half-time break.
In the second half, the Nzalang Nacional of Equatorial Guinea thought they had been awarded a penalty in the 50th minute when the ball struck the hand of Kalidou Koulibaly in the box, but to their dismay the decision was overturned by VAR.
Seven minutes later, the Senegalese were pegged back. Jannick Buyla restored parity for Equatorial Guinea, he lashed onto a cross from Pablo Ganet to slot the ball past Edouard Mendy in goal for Senegal.
Senegal took the lead 22 minutes from time after capitalising on a defensive error made by the Equatorial Guinea. Second-half substitute Kouyate flicked the ball past the Equatorial Guinean goalkeeper Owono.
Another second-half substitute Ismaila Sarr confirmed the victory for Senegal, tapping home into the bottom corner after a tremendous assist from Saliou Cisse.
Equatorial Guinea lost by 3-1 to Senegal thereby bringing their AFCON journey to an end, they can keep their heads up high after a memorable tourney where they knocked out Mali and defeated defending champions Algeria.
Also speaking after the game was Equatorial Guinea boss Juan Micha who said:
“We knew we were going to play against a very good Senegalese team. We gave our best during this match. I think the physical factor got the better of us. We congratulate the Senegalese selection for their performance today.
Today, we have a young team, who have come to play the CAN TotalEnergies to go as far as possible in the competition.
We have demonstrated what we are capable of. For the future, we will try to consolidate the achievements and participate regularly in competitions international.”
The Teranga Lions of Senegal, with the agony of losing the 2019 final will now face Burkina Faso in the semi-final stage on February 2nd.