Senegal powered into the quarter-finals of the TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) after an emphatic 3-0 victory over DR Congo on Sunday.
The Teranga Lions defeated the two-time winners in their final Group B match played at the 19 May 1956 Stadium in Annaba to secure their place in the knock-out stage of the ongoing tournament in Algeria.
A first-half goal by Osmane Diouf along with a Pape Diallo strike which was coupled with an unfortunate own goal by Siadi Baggio ensured the west Africans topped the group and subsequently advance to the last eight.
Looking at redeeming themselves from the loss to Uganda, Senegal was the first to ask questions as early as the 6th minute when Ousmane Kane thought he had beaten the offside trap with his goal but was judged to be offside by VAR.
Papa Diallo, who was a nuisance to the DR Congo defense should have put his side ahead in the 11th minute after a through ball from Elimane Cisse found the forward free on goal as he dragged his shot wide off target with the keeper at his mercy.
Minutes later, it was DR Congo’s Elie Mpanzu who squandered a glorious opportunity to grab the lead after doing well to control a cross from the left, but with just the keeper to beat, the forward opted for a cross which went wayward as Senegal survived the threat.
The Teranga Lions continued piling on the pressure, sending numbers forward in search of the all-important lead and were eventually rewarded when a good build-up play concluded with an easy tap-in by an unexpected Ousmane Diouf in the 23rd minute.
Things moved from bad to worse for DR Congo when Kevin Mondeko was sent for an early shower after bringing down Cheikh Diouf on the edge of the box in a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
With a man down, DR Congo retreated into defense mode as they looked to reshape themselves ahead of the break.
The lead was almost doubled towards the closing stages of the opening half after another Senegalese defender, Mamadou Sane skillfully dropped his shoulder to beat his marker but was let down by his tame effort which was parried to safety by an alert Siadi Baggio.
The much-needed break helped DR Congo to regroup, and this was evident in how they took the game to their opponents from the resumption of the second half.
Jean Mundele was unlucky not to level matters in the 58th minute after his well taken free kick on the edge of the box went inches over the bar with the keeper rooted to the ground.
The relentless attacks by DR Congo unfortunately left them exposed at the back as Senegal capitalized on this with a well threaded ball by the on-form Cisse finding Diallo who protected the ball from Miche Mika and concluded his run with a composed finish to extend the lead in the 74th minute.
The second goal threw the DR Congo defense into disarray as the third came minutes later after the troublesome Cisse found Malike Mbaye with a through ball for the winger to send in a cross that was deflected by Boka Issaka, catching the keeper off-guard as he tried to make the save but unfortunately saw the ball trickle over the line in a goal that had to verify by VAR.
With a comfortable three-goal lead, Pepe Thiaw’s charges managed the game as they kept the ball with the intention of catching their opponents on the transition as the match concluded with a convincing 3-0 victory for the Teranga Lions.
The result means Senegal finish top of the group with six points and set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal clash against the winners of Group D which will be determined on Tuesday, while Cote D’Ivoire’s 3-1 victory over Uganda sees them finish second to set an appointment with tournament hosts, Algeria.
Credit: CAF MEDIA