Kalidou Koulibaly was the hero for Senegal by scoring the winner to secure a 2-1 victory over Ecuador and second place in Group A.
Senegal pipped Ecuador to second spot in Group A and clinched a place in the last 16 of World Cup 2022 along with group winners Netherlands. The Lions of Teranga went into the match a point behind Ecuador but took the game to El Tri and opened the scoring in the first half from the penalty spot. Ismaila Sarr won the penalty and then despatched a no-look spot-kick to put his team 1-0 up. Moises Caicedo levelled for Ecuador on 67 minutes but Senegal hit straight back and restored their lead three minutes later through Koulibaly.
Senegal captain Koulibaly stepped up when his team really needed him and delivered the win with a superb finish. The Lions of Teranga had been guilty of sitting back after taking their lead and it was no surprise to see Ecuador level. However, Senegal’s response was quick and impressive. A free-kick was fired into the box and came to Koulibaly who produced a striker’s finish to volley the ball home. It was his first ever goal for his country and could not have come at a better time.
Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie was at fault for both of Senegal’s goals in a game he really won’t remember fondly. It’s difficult to know what he was thinking in the first half when he barged into Sarr and gave the referee little option but to point to the penalty spot. Hincapie was all at sea when Koulibaly scored too. The defender seemed to get in Enner Valencia’s way when Idrissa Gueye’s free-kick was played into the box which prevented Ecuador from clearing. Instead the ball went to Koulibaly and the rest is history.
The results mean that the Netherlands go through to the last 16 of the World Cup as group winners and Senegal take second place.