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Senegal star Cheikh Diouf hails DR Congo despite exit

TotalEnergies ‘Man of the match’ Cheikh Diouf has lauded DR Congo despite the Leopard’s shock exit at the 2022 TotalEnergies African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Algeria.

Diouf praised the Leopards after Senegal ended hopes nursed by the Congolese that they could sail through to the next round, with a resounding 3-0 defeat.

The Guediawaye FC forward said their opponents during Sunday’s game in Group B were no pushovers.

“We can’t say DRC doesn’t have a good team. We were sharper today, but DR Congo remains a great football nation which we all respect,” Diouf said.

Cheikh and his teammates were however not going to be denied progress into the next round of the competition, given the team’s untrodden motivation.

“The team had a great desire to win and also go far. We made an error against Uganda and today we had more internal motivation to win.

“Our coach did what he was supposed to do. He said the right things to us. To be serene and have character and that’s just what we did,” Diouf ended.

Cheikh Diouf, 19, was a focal point in his team’s attack as Senegal picked their moments to unpick the experienced DR Congo defence that had an average age of 28 and Saoule Ebunga Simbi starting at a record age of 39 years four months and 27 days.

Cheikh Diouf played 86 minutes of the game before he was substituted by Pape Thiaw having done the damage, with the next round in mind.

Cheikh Diouf’s Senegal will be in the spotlight again on Friday January 27, this time, in the quarter-final for the first time in 12 years against the team that tops Group D.

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