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U-20 AFCON 2023: Senegal beat Benin to reach semis

Senegal beat Benin 1-0 on Thursday to qualify for the semi-finals of the TotalEnergies U-20 Africa Cup of Nations and also seal their place at the U20 World Cup

Malick Daf’s Teranga Cubs needed a second goal from captain Samba Diallo to beat the Cheetahs at the Cairo International Stadium on Thursday.

Diallo headed in from Lamine Camara’s brilliant free kick to send the West Africans to the semis and the World Cup.

The Young Teranga started the better side at the Cairo International Stadium with Lamine Camara and Djibril Diop pulling the strings in midfield.

The Cheetahs defended well, restricting Senegal to limited access in their area Bachirou Attivi and Morile Dossou-Dognon covering the wide areas.

Landing Badji who won the Best Goalkeeper of the group failed to deal with a long ball into the Senegal area leaving Olatoundji Tessilimi who couldn’t hit the target.

Benin continued to play on the break against the well drilled Senegal team who came into the match with an impressive record scoring eight goals without conceding.

Senegal created the best chance of the first half through captain Samba Diallo’s low drive from Sulaymane Faye unselfish cut back agonizingly missed the target with the keeper rooted to the ground five minutes before the break.

The WAFU-A champions Senegal started the second half with more purpose and zeal as they pushed more into the Cheetahs half.

Senegal broke the deadlock six minutes into the second half through captain Samba Diallo’s diving header from a well worked set piece.

The captain turned in Lamine Camara’s free kick at the far post to beat the helpless Rahman Karim and hand Senegal a deserved lead.

Diallo should have doubled Senegal’s lead on 67 minutes when he fired straight at the woodwork from Sulaymane Faye’s intelligent pass.

Faye latched on to a long ball deep into the Benin half which Karim failed to clear allowing the youngster to square it to captain Diallo who couldn’t convert into an empty goal.

The Teranga Cubs continued to dominate and Pape Diallo came close with a half volley late on but Karim was well positioned to gather.

With time running out substitute Stephane Vignigbe glanced a header wide for Benin as Senegal held on to qualify to semi-finals and book a place at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Indonesia.

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