AFCON QUALIFIERS Kouyate Rescues Senegal from Embarrassing Eswatini Loss


Senegal fought back to hold Eswatini to a 1-1 draw in the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) qualification Group I match at the Stade Lat-Dior in Thiès on Tuesday evening.

As a result the Lions of Teranga finished a successful qualifying campaign undefeated, while a courageous Sihlangu Semnikati side remained fourth on the group standings.

Sihlangu Semnikati got off to a dream start as they grabbed an early goal after the Lions of the Teranga’s defence was exposed on the right-hand side.

Sandile Gamedze beat Senegal’s debutant goalkeeper Seny Dieng with a superb first-time shot which his left foot to hand Eswatini a 1-0 lead.

A second-string Lions of the Teranga side tried to respond with a goal with centre forwards Mame Thiam and Mbaye Diagne leading their attack.

However, Sihlangu Semnikati, who are ranked 153rd in the Fifa world rankings, were leading 1-0 at the interval having contained the top 20-ranked Lions of Teranga in the first half.

Eswatini did not sit back after the restart as they introduced TS Galaxy attacker Justice Figuaredo eight minutes into the second half as the visitors looked to double their lead.

With his side trailing 1-0, Senegal coach Alilou Cisse introduced his best player, Sadio Mane, who was tasked with rescuing the hosts.

The Lions of Teranga then upped the tempo in the closing stages of the match and they managed to grab a late equalising goal through Cheikhou Kouyate.

The towering defender-cum-midfielder netted his third international goal for his nation in stoppage time to ensure that the encounter ended in a 1-1 draw.