Gueye goal takes Senegal to first CAN semis in 13 years - GulfToday

Gueye goal takes Senegal to first CAN semis in 13 years


Senegal’s Idrissa Gana Gueye (centre) scores against Benin during their CAN quarter-final match in Cairo on Wednesday. Associated Press

Cairo: Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye’s goal gave Senegal a 1-0 win over Benin in Cairo in their quarter-final on Wednesday to take coach Aliou Cisse’s team to the Africa Cup of Nations semi-finals for the first time since 2006.

Gueye struck on 70 minutes, side-footing the ball into the net from close range after being set up by Liverpool star Sadio Mane.

This was the first Cup of Nations match to use the VAR (video assistant referee) system and there were no controversial incidents.

Benin were reduced to 10 men in the closing stages when Olivier Verdon was given a straight red card for a last-defender foul.

Cisse made one change to the team that defeated Uganda to reach the last-eight stage with Keita Balde replacing fellow forward Ismaila Sarr.

This was only the third time the countries met in a competitive match with Senegal winning 1-0 at home and drawing 1-1 away in 2002 World Cup qualifying.

Senegal applied most of the early pressure with Benin content to sit back and soak it up before a small crowd at the 30,000-capacity 30 June Stadium in the Egyptian capital.

Mickael Pote, the veteran Benin forward who bagged a brace in a group draw with Ghana, came agonisingly close to putting the Squirrels ahead midway through the opening half.

He cleverly backheeled a free-kick driven low into the box and the ball flew just wide with goalkeeper Alfred Gomis beaten.

A free-kick at the other end offered Kalidou Koulibaly a chance to break the deadlock, but he narrowly failed to connect with the ball after it eluded the defensive wall.

There was intense Senegal pressure as the opening half drew to a close with Verdon coming to the rescue by clearing a Henri Saivet cross.

Senegal did get the ball in the net nine minutes after half-time, but the Algerian referee blew for offside and VAR confirmed that his decision was correct.

Senegal were in the end rewarded for their dominance of possession and territory when Gueye burst into the box and fired over Kassifa.

Agence France-Presse