Having begun their AFCON tournament with two disappointing matches – although they didn’t lose either – Senegal looked to put Malawi to the sword right from the outset with their energetic forward line, as Sadio Mané sublimely dinked the evening’s first effort just over the crossbar in the 7th minute. Minutes later, Malawi forward Khuda Muyaba capitalized on a counter-attack and unleashed a scorcher that narrowly skirted Edouard Mendy’s goal. As the half progressed, the ‘Lions of Téranga’ looked increasingly shaky with the ball at their feet, giving away the ball on more than one occasion. However, Malawi had failed to capitalize on any of their chances as the HT whistle blew.
Marinică’s outfit were almost immediately dealt a scare after the restart, when Habib Diallo’s header from a free-kick was superbly saved by Malawi shot-stopper Charles Thomu. Senegal’s relentless style of play pushed the ‘Flames’ on the backfoot, as Aliou Cissé’s side looked to score their first goal from open play in the tournament’s three matches so far.
With Malawi experiencing less than 20% of the ball, Senegal’s dominance was felt all over, but Buona Sarr’s foul handed Malawi a moment of joy in the 75th minute with a penalty. However, that joy was short-lived as the referee overturned his initial decision after a VAR review. Senegal’s Famara Diedhiou wasted a huge opportunity in the dying minutes of the match when he produced a low shot from close range that was well saved by the goalkeeper.
It was all for naught at the end in Cameroon, as Malawi failed to overtake Guinea to the second place, but nonetheless qualified to the knockout stage with a clean sheet against tournament favorites Senegal. The ‘Lions’, being FIFA’s top ranked CAF nation, stayed true to their name and qualified as group leaders, albeit with another toothless performance in the competition
Leave a Reply