Sadio Mane and Idrissa Gueye linked up to break Benin’s resolve as Africa Cup of Nations favourites Senegal earned a 1-0 win in Wednesday’s quarter-final.
Senegal escaped with a slender victory against Uganda in the last 16 and they were again made to work hard to keep their quest for a first AFCON title alive by Benin.
Following a quiet opening hour in Cairo that saw Mane largely shackled, Aliou Cisse’s side stepped things up and found a winner 21 minutes from time through Everton midfielder Gueye.
Gueye exchanged passes with Mane and converted into the far corner to book a semi-final date with either Madagascar or Tunisia and end the dream rum of Benin, who were reduced to 10 men late on when Olivier Verdon was dismissed.
— CAF (@CAF_Online) July 10, 2019
Benin focused on keeping out the opposition in the first half, but Senegal did get in behind a couple of times shortly before half-time.
M’Baye Niang and Gueye had shots blocked and Youssouf Sabaly was unable to square the ball to Mane in front of goal for what would have been a simple finish.
Mane’s frustrations continued early in the second half as he had a header rightly ruled out for offside.
But the Liverpool forward started to see more of the ball and he played a big part in the winning goal as he linked up with Gueye, who showed great composure after surging through to fire across Saturnin Allagbe.
Mane was denied a goal by VAR four minutes later – the first use of the technology in the tournament – and he then had an attempt kept off the line by Emmanuel Imorou.
Verdon was shown a red card for bringing down Gueye in the 82nd minute as Benin’s first quarter-final appearance ended in defeat.
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