But, with the teams recording wins without conceding in their last two matches, the focus was on defensive solidity until Guinea broke ranks and nearly caught out Senegal on the counter-attack. A flowing move ended with Ilaix Moriba unselfishly teeing up Morgan Guilavogui at close range, but Seny Dieng diverted the powerful strike to keep Senegal’s clean sheet intact.
Senegal suddenly sprung to life in the second period and started to show the form that produced a recent streak of 12-matches without loss, making them one of the pre-tournament favorites. The ‘Lions of Teranga’ edged back into the contest and a succession of set-pieces almost led to the opener when Diallo’s powerful header forced Aly Keita into a fingertip save.
Chances remained few and far between and Sadio Mané almost produced his eighth goal involvement at the AFCON since 2015 when the forward went on a solo run from the halfway line and laid in Sarr who feinted inside but his scuffed effort was agonizingly close to nestling in the bottom corner.
A draw is far from disastrous for either side, although Guinea will be the happier, as they could qualify for their sixth knockout stages in their last seven AFCON appearances with a win against Zimbabwe. It was another sluggish performance from Senegal, who had won six of their last seven before the match, and their two missed chances ultimately cost them an early qualification from Group B.