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Ecuador 1-2 Senegal: Talking Points as Kalidou Koulibaly's winner guides African champions to knockouts of World Cup

Although Moises Caicedo canceled out Ismail Sarr's opener, Kalidou Koulibaly volleyed home the winner from a set piece situation and earned Senegal a spot in the round of 16.

Senegal beat Ecuador 2-1 to enter the knockouts of Qatar World Cup; Credit: Twitter/@FIFAWorldCup
By Sreejith C R | Nov 30, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

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Kalidou Koulibaly’s volley Guided Senegal to a 2-1 win over Ecuador and earned them a spot in the knockouts of Qatar World Cup. The Lions of Teranaga needed a victory to go through to the next round and the African champions came up with a professional performance to earn three points at the Khalifa International Stadium. Ecuador, who needed just a point to earn qualification, struggled to get the better of a solid and compact Senegal defence. It took 44 minutes for the deadlock to be broken, with Ismaila Sarr converting a penalty, after being bundled over in the box by Piero Hincapie. Although Moises Caicedo equalised in the 67th-minute, Aliou cisse’s side restored the lead three minutes later, courtesy of Koulibaly’s fine effort from a set-piece. 

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Senegal were solid at the back

The Lions of Teranaga displayed a solid defensive game plan to get the better of La Tri. The back-four and the two defensive midfielders were so compact that Ecuador were forced to go out wide and put in crosses, which was very well dealt with by the two big centre-backs Koulibaly and Abdou Diallo. Apart from the goal by Caicedo, Ecuador failed to cause any real threat to the Senegalese goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. Enner Valencia, who had scored all three of Ecuador’s goals in the World Cup, had a quiet game by his standards, because there wasn’t enough supply from the midfielders and wingers. 

Ismail Sarr had an impressive game

Sarr, was the best player for Senegal while going forward. The 24-year-old made three successful dribbles and attempted as many attempts on goal. He was too hot for the Ecuador defence to handle and deservedly won the penalty on the stroke of halftime. The Watford player stepped up and converted the spot kick to score his first ever goal in the World Cup. He has been one of consistent players for the Lions of Teranga, having produced impressive performances against the likes of Netherlands and Qatar in their previous outings. Sarr has good pace and footwork to take on defenders and also helps his team while defending. He really puts in a shift down the left flank.

Kalidou Koulibaly was the hero of the match

The Chelsea-man produced a brilliant performance at both ends of the field to guide his team to only their second ever appearance in the knockouts of World Cup. The 31-year-old defender marshalled his back-four effectively and scored the winner in the 70th-minute. The former Napoli-man volleyed home from inside the box after Idrissa Gueye’s free-kick wasn’t cleared. It was the central defender’s first ever international goal in 67 appearances for Senegal.  Meanwhile, at the back, Koulibaly won three aerial duels and made four tackles. Senegal’s opponents in the last-16 stage are England and the Lions of Teranga will need their captain to be at his best if they are to repeat the heroics of 2002, when they reached the quarter-finals.



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