Senegal ends Benin's dream journey and proceed to the semis of the African Cup of Nations

Benin's hopes to continue their Cinderella run at the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations was brought to a halt by a magnificent Senegal side in the competition's first round of the quarter-finals played at the 30 June Stadium winning 1-0. 

Benin upset Morocco with a 4-1 victory on penalties after drawing 1-1 through normal time to book a place into their first ever AFCON quarter-final. 

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Courtesy: The Guardian

The side drew all of their three group-stage games to qualify as one of the best third-placed teams, having forced draws against five-time champions Cameroon and four-time winners Ghana in Group F. 

Senegal were well aware of the threat their opponents would pose in the Wednesday evening, July 10, clash as they took charge of proceedings when the two teams commenced hostilities. 

Despite their dominance, the Lions of Teranga seldom looked like doing anything with the ball as Benin threatened them on rare counter-attacks from set-pieces. 

The two teams eventually headed into the break with neither finding the back of the net, with Aliou Cisse forced to bring on Mbaye Diagne in Niang's place who was stretchered off when the second half resumed. 

Senegal's glorious chance for an opener came in the 65th minute after Kalidou Koulibaly playing a good pass over the top for Youssouf Sabaly, who scampered down the left before blazing a wild cross over the bar. 

Idrissa Gueye however went on to fire his side into the lead three minutes later, with the Everton forward crowning Sadio Mane's assist with a sharp finish. 

Efforts by Benin to restore parity only saw them reduced to 10 men as Olivier Verdon was handed marching orders after pulling Gueye down at the edge of the area. Senegal eventually held on to claim a slim win over the Squirrels of Benin to storm the continental tournament's semis. 

After the elimination of reigning champions Cameroon and hosts Egypt, attention now shifts to the likes of Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Algeria. 


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