Heading into this game it was clear to see that there was a ‘David vs Goliath’ atmosphere that the build-up just couldn’t shake. Some felt as if that was an unfair tagline, whereas others believed it was justified. In the end, though, Benin put up a valiant effort in what was an entertaining game, with Senegal coming out on top and booking their place in the semi-finals in the process.
Throughout the course of the encounter Sadio Mane had two goals ruled out for VAR, which has now been introduced at the quarter-final stage. Benin also had a good opportunity to take the lead following a bad mistake by Alfred Gomis, but they just couldn’t capitalise on it.
An intriguing showdown
Heading into half time it was clear to see that this was going to be an open game, but for the most part, the finishing just wasn’t quite on point. Senegal were still expected to make their way into the final four, but it took a while for them to really get their feet off the ground.
In the end, though, it was a strike from Idrissa Gueye that put Benin out of the tournament – and Senegal into the semi-finals. Further disappointment came for Benin when Olivier Verdon was sent off for a foul on Gueye himself, but in the end, it didn’t really matter. Benin will get to hold their heads high for what they’ve been able to accomplish since the tournament began a few weeks ago, whereas Senegal can continue to dream of claiming the Champions of Africa title with just one game separating them and the final.
What comes next?
That game will be contested between themselves and either Tunisia or Madagascar, depending on who wins their respective quarter-final tie. The game will be played in Cairo on Sunday, as we get closer and closer to finding out who will reign supreme over the continent of Africa.
Given what Senegal have been able to produce thus far nobody will count them out, but they almost certainly need to up their game if they want to pose a serious goalscoring threat to some of the remaining juggernauts.
Senegal: Gomis (7.5), Sabaly (6.5), Koulibaly (7), Kouyate (7), Gassama (6.5), Gueye (7.5), Ndiaye (7), Saivet (7), Keita (6), Niang (6.5), Mane (7.5), Diatta (6.5), Diagne (6.5), Sane (6)
Benin: Allagbe (6.5), Baraze (7), Adilehou (6), Verdon (5), Imorou (7), Adeoti (6.5), Soukou (7), D’Almeida (6.5), Sessegnon (6), Pote (6.5), Mounie (6.5), Seibou (6), Djigla (6), Dossou (6)
Referee: Mustapha Ghorbal
Yellow Cards: Mane, Soukou, Mounie
Red Cards: Verdon
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