Senegal reach last 16 with victory over Ecuador

Senegal reach last 16 with victory over Ecuador
Senegal players pay tribute to Pape Bouba Diop after their 2-1 win over Ecuador

A good win for the team, a perfect tribute for the fallen legend Pape Bouba Diop.

Playing on the day that midfield general Pape Bouba Diop died exactly two years ago, Senegal qualified for the last 16 at the ongoing World Cup in Qatar with a 2-1 win over Ecuador in Pool A action at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Diop was part of the Senegal squad that reached the quarterfinal of the 2002 tournament, and is famously remembered for scoring the winning goal in the team’s 1-0 victory over defending champions France in the opening match of that year’s tournament.

To matters on the field of play, Aliou Cisse changed tact for this encounter, playing with a lone target man and pushing his wingers wider than he has in this tournament.


Ismaila Sarr and Iliman Ndiaye were a menace, and indeed, Sarr won the Lions of Teranga a penalty when his pace proved too much for Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie who fouled him in the box, Sarr coolly slotting home the 44th minute penalty for a 1-0 lead at the break.

Ecuador also changed tact for the second half, electing to play a 4-2-4 formation, a shift from their starting 4-3-3 formation.

This pushed them forward and they equalized through Moises Caicedo in the 67th minute.

Senegal captain Kalidou Koulibaly, donning a special arm band with Diop’s squad number, 19, fired home from a clearance in the 70th minute to give his side the lead for good. 

It was a composed side-foot volley to crush Ecuador, for whom a draw would have been enough to qualify from Group A, and send the African champions into the last 16 of this World Cup.

Cisse’s charges deserved their victory and although they will be without Idrissa Gana Gueye in the last 16, it provides some sort of consolation for their exit four years ago when they were eliminated at this stage of the World Cup in bizarre fashion.

Locked together with Japan on points, goal difference and goals, they were eliminated by virtue of the “fair play” rule owing to the fact they had two more yellow cards in the group stage.

A good win for the team, a perfect tribute for the fallen legend Pape Bouba Diop.