Senegal have booked their place in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations semifinals with Idrissa Gueye scoring the Teranga Lions’ solitary winner against an impressive Benin Republic side in a thrilling quarterfinal clash at 30 June Stadium Cairo on Wednesday.
Finalists in 2002 edition of the tournament in Mali, Senegal made no pretence of their intentions, desire and appetite to go past their West African neighbours right from the kickoff.
The Teranga Lions were dominant in the opening stages, enjoying a 64-46 possession of proceedings, but it was the Benin Squirrels that came close to taking the lead 19 minutes into the game.
A free kick from the left hand channel was side-footed by Porter who agonisingly watched his effort stroll marginally wide of post.
However, Benin Republic were almost gifted a goal on 66th minute when Senegal goalkeeper failed to deal properly a back pass, gifting the Squirrels a corner kick that eventually did not bear any fruit.
The ovation that greeted the goal had hardly died down when Sadio Mane thought he had doubled his side’s advantage after rounding up the Squirrels goalkeeper.
The Squirrel problem was compounded with seven minutes left for play when they were reduced to 10 men after defender Olivier Verdon was sent off for dragging down a goal bound Senegalese attacker.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Benin Republic poured out in numbers in search of a possible equaliser. But poor ideas in the final third was their undoing until the final whistle.