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AFCON 2019: Senegal Edge Benin To Clinch Semi-Final Spot

Senegal beat Benin 1-0 in Cairo to become the first team to reach the semi-finals of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

Senegal beat Benin 1-0 in Cairo to become the first team to reach the semi-finals of 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.

The Lions of Teranga made a relatively slow start but gradually grew stronger as the half progressed, with Mbaye Niang firing the game’s first shot on goal which Saturnin Allagbe dealt with well in the end.

The Squirrels were not bound to be intimidated by the Aliou Cisse’s men and Mickael Pote was at the end of their first strike on target minutes later.

Great work down the left from Jordan Adeoti, who dribbled past two defenders before whipping in a low cross that landed to Moise Adelihou who drew a finger-tip save from Alfred Gomis.

The prudent attacking quality that Teranga Lions are fondly known for nearly came to fruition when Sadio Mane ran on to a long ball before hitting side net with Allagbe well beaten.

It was the turn of Benin with the chance to go in front, but Stephane Sessegnon failed to direct his header on target after rising well on in the 33rd minute, which proved to be the final chance in the opening stanza.

Two minutes in the second half, Senegal missed an inviting opportunity to steer in front after Keita Balde’s attempted back-heel sailed wide of goal after tenacious work from Seidou Baraze.

The Monaco forward was in the thick again seconds later, but on this occasion, his shot from a loose ball sailed wide with the help of Allagbe who managed to tip it away.

Benin managed to soak up the pressure and nearly took the lead against the run of play but despite the good effort from Steve Moine, the crossbar denied him the chance to put the Squirrels into the lead.

Senegal showed their class five minutes later after Gueye connected with Sadio Mane to finish into the bottom corner.

With twelve minutes to full-time, the Teranga Lions pressed for an insurance goal after Mane forced Allagbe to tip over the top following a cross-field delivery from Saivet.

On the other hand, the Squirrels edged closer to drawing level and Sassi D’Almeida was a tad unfortunate not to get on the end of an inside-cross from the left by Adeoti on 80 minutes.

Benin finished with a man less after Olivier Verdon was given a straight red card for bringing down Mane in the last eight minutes.

In added time, Sedio Baraza nearly netted for the Squirrels but his effort was easily dealt with by Gomis, as Senegal walked away as the ultimate winners to advance to the semi-finals.

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