Teranga Lions Secure Spot in Knockout Stage with Victory Over Cameroon
Senegal successfully defended their title in the TotalEnergies CAF Africa Cup of Nations Côte d’Ivoire 2023, securing a hard-fought victory against Cameroon at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro on Friday evening.
In what promised to be a significant night for both teams, Senegal seized an early lead courtesy of Ismaila Sarr. The 25-year-old propelled Senegal ahead 16 minutes into the game, capitalizing on a tempting pass inside the box and eagerly converting a rebound to open the scoring.
Controlling the second half as they did the first, the Teranga Lions managed to extend their lead. Sarr turned provider this time, delivering a perfect pass to Habib Dailo, who confidently slotted in the second goal for the Terranga Lions.
Cameroon’s Jean Charles Castelleto narrowed Senegal’s lead to 2-1 by rising highest to head home a cross from Oliver Ntcham in the 83rd minute, intensifying the game.
After conceding, the Indomitable Lions applied pressure on Senegal. However, with just 2 minutes remaining, Sadio Mane secured his first goal of the tournament and Senegal’s third of the night, connecting with a pass from Pape Gueye to beat Andre Onana.
The victory ensures Senegal has 6 points from 2 games, guaranteeing their qualification to the knockout stage. Cameroon needs a win in their last group game against Gambia on Tuesday to progress to the knockout stage. Senegal’s final group match is against Guinea at the Charles Konan Banny Stadium in Yamoussoukro on Tuesday, 23 January.
Senegal has progressed from the group stage in each of their last four Africa Cup of Nations, rebounding from three previous failures.
Since the 2021 tournament, Senegal has not lost any Africa Cup of Nations game (P9 – W6 D3), boasting the second-best attack (15 goals, behind only Cameroon with 16).
Cameroon lost their first group stage game in an Africa Cup of Nations since 2015, against Côte d’Ivoire (0-1), having won four and drawn six such matches in the meantime.
For the first time since Opta started collecting data in 2010, Cameroon failed to register a shot on target in the first half for two consecutive games in the Africa Cup of Nations. Jean-Charles Castelleto’s goal in the 83rd minute was their only shot on target.
Ismaïla Sarr has contributed to three of Senegal’s six goals in the current Africa Cup of Nations (1 goal, 2 assists).
Sadio Mané is the first player in Senegal’s history to score in four different Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (2017, 2019, 2021, and 2023).