Qatar 2022: Chelsea’s Koulibaly Fires Senegal into Last 16
Chelsea central defender, Kalidou Koulibaly’s nerveless volley fired Senegal into the Last 16 stage of the 2022 World Cup here in Qatar for the second time in their football history as they defeated Ecuador 2-1 inside the Khalifa International Stadium.
The Senegalese are the first African team to reach the knock out stage here at Qatar 2022.
Victory for the Teranga Lions brought tears to the South Americans who until the match were second behind the Netherlands in their Group A standing.
All three goals came from players based in England as Ecuador’s Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo cancelled out a penalty by Watford’s Ismaila Sarr before Koulibaly’s side-footer won it for Senegal.
Ecuador needed just a point to progress but paid the price for a passive display as Senegal were spurred on by an almost non-stop cacophony of drumming from their supporters in Al Rayyan.
Watford winger Sarr coolly stroked home from the spot, after being clumsily upended by Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie, to put the African champions deservedly ahead.
Ecuador levelled with their first real chance as Caicedo swept home Felix Torres’ flick-on but Koulibaly’s composed finish immediately regained the lead for Senegal, who knew only victory would be enough to go through barring an unlikely Qatar upset against the Netherlands.
They held out amid a nervy six minutes of stoppage time to finish as runners-up in Group A behind the Dutch, who clinched top spot by handing the tournament hosts a third defeat in three games with a comfortable 2-0 winin Al Khor.
Aliou Cisse’s side are potential last-16 opponents for England given the Lions of Teranga will next face the winners of Group B – a berth Gareth Southgate’s team could seal later on Tuesday.