Senegal defeated Ecuador 2-1 to advance to the round of 16 of the ongoing Fifa World Cup in Qatar, becoming the first African side to reach that stage in this year’s edition.
Senegal took the lead after Ismaila Sarr successfully converted a penalty kick in the 44th minute. However, Ecuador responded in the 67th minute with Moises Caicedo’s equalizer. Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly restored Senegal’s lead through a header just three minutes later and the West-African side held on to the lead to secure a crucial victory at the Khalifa International Stadium on Tuesday.
The reigning African champion now finished second in Group A behind Netherlands after two wins and a loss. Ecuador finished third in the Group with four points from three matches while host nation Qatar ended at the bottom of the Group with zero points, becoming the first World Cup host country to lose all three group matches.
Can they move on to the round of eight?
Senegal was heartbreakingly eliminated from the World Cup in Russia four years ago despite finishing joint second with Japan in the group stage on points, goal difference, goals scored, and head-to-head record. The side was eliminated based on disciplinary record.
Senegal played in its first World Cup tournament in 2002, shocking the reigning champion France 1-0 in the opening round. Their impressive campaign ended with a 1-0 defeat to Turkey in the quarterfinals.
The African nation dubbed “Lions of Teranga” had to wait 16 years before it was finally able to qualify for its second World Cup in 2018.
Senegal will now face the Group B topper England in the round of sixteen at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday. The question now is: Can they move on to the next round?