Sene­gal head­ing home

Brave Sene­gal lose out for last 16 spot over poorer dis­ci­plinary record than their op­po­nents

Afro Voice (National Edition) - - Front Page -

COLOM­BIA’S Yerry Mina thumped home a sec­ond­half header to se­cure a dra­matic 1­0 vic­tory over Sene­gal yes­ter­day that cat­a­pulted the South Amer­i­cans into the World Cup last 16 and dumped their African op­po­nents out of the tour­na­ment.

Sene­gal had only needed a point in their fi­nal Group H game to reach the next round, but de­feat saw them miss out to Ja­pan, who edged them out of the run­ners­up spot by virtue of hav­ing a bet­ter dis­ci­plinary record.

It was the first time in World Cup his­tory that two teams had been sep­a­rated by the num­ber of yel­low cards they had ac­crued in the tour­na­ment.

Both Sene­gal and Ja­pan, who were beaten 1­0 by Poland yes­ter­day, fin­ished the group with four points and an iden­ti­cal record in all other re­spects.

Yet the Asian side ended sec­ond hav­ing picked up four yel­low cards to Sene­gal’s six.

Colom­bia, who fin­ished group win­ners with six points will face a last 16 match against the run­ner­sup in Group G where Eng­land and Bel­gium bat­tled for supremacy last night.

De­feat for Sene­gal elim­i­nated them at the group stage in their first World Cup ap­pear­ance since 2002 and left Africa with­out a rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the knock­out stages. It was a crush­ing blow to the Sene­galese who had been the bet­ter side for most of the game and had a penalty award over­turned. – Reuters

A POW­ER­FUL header from Barcelona’s Yerry Mina fired Colom­bia into the last 16 of the World Cup with a 1­0 win over Group H ri­vals Sene­gal, who crashed out due to a poorer dis­ci­plinary record than Ja­pan.

Colom­bia and Ja­pan will play ei­ther Eng­land or Bel­gium, who were play­ing later last night.

The South Amer­i­cans, look­ing to reach the lat­ter stages af­ter reach­ing the quar­ter­fi­nals in Brazil, risked go­ing out of the tour­na­ment at the first hur­dle.

But af­ter see­ing the video as­sis­tant ref­eree come to their res­cue in a dis­ap­point­ing first half, Colom­bia were handed a last­16 life­line 13 min­utes from the end when Mina rose to meet a cor­ner from the right and di­rect a header into the roof of Khadim Ndi­aye’s net.

Poland’s 1­0 con­so­la­tion win over Ja­pan meant the Asians fin­ished level with Sene­gal, who were ag­o­nis­ingly elim­i­nated be­cause they were is­sued six yel­low cards in the com­pe­ti­tion, two more than Ja­pan.

In Samara, Colom­bia coach Jose Pek­er­man kept faith with the at­tack­ing front line that thumped Poland 3­0, with mid­field­ers Juan Quin­tero, James Ro­driguez and Juan Cuadrado pro­vid­ing the sup­port for striker Radamel Fal­cao up front.

But by the end of an en­ter­tain­ing first half, Pek­er­man was forced to tin­ker when Ro­driguez was forced off with an in­jury prob­lem and re­placed by Luis Muriel.

Be­fore then, Sene­gal had shown at­tack­ing po­tency but, all too of­ten, failed to threaten David Ospina’s goal.

Colom­bia’s best first­half chance came from a free­kick that saw Ndi­aye dive to parry Juan Quin­tero’s pow­er­ful ef­fort af­ter Fal­cao had been sand­wiched in mid­air.

Yet Colom­bia lacked pace and punch, and the trick­ery of Juan Cuadrado, so ef­fec­tive against Poland, failed to im­press Sene­gal as they caught the Ju­ven­tus man out more than once.

When Cuadrado lost pos­ses­sion cheaply at the halfway line, Keita Balde sent Sa­dio Mane on his way to­wards goal be­fore the Liver­pool man fell un­der a chal­lenge from de­fender Davin­son Sanchez.

Ser­bian ref­eree Milo­rad Mazic pointed to the spot but amid Colom­bian protests he was called to con­sult the VAR, which showed Sanchez’s boot had made con­tact with the ball first.

From an­other free kick Fal­cao was flagged off­side when he headed Quin­tero’s floated de­liv­ery high and

wide. Sene­gal re­sponded, but Keita shot straight at Ospina af­ter the keeper had spilled a pow­er­ful drive by Mane.

There was ex­cite­ment among the Colom­bian fans when they learned Poland had scored against Ja­pan, but Los Cafeteros strug­gled to do their bit.

Hopes were raised when Quin­tero’s pow­er­ful free kick from the right was blocked in the area and fell to Muriel, whose shot was de­flected out. From the cor­ner, Fal­cao’s header was bun­dled wide.

Penalty claims were waved away when Muriel fell dra­mat­i­cally un­der a chal­lenge by Ndi­aye as the keeper rushed out to close him down.

But the Samara sta­dium erupted as Colom­bia fi­nally broke the dead­lock.

Cuadrado’s at­tempt to drib­ble into the area earned a cor­ner and Barcelona de­fender Mina rose high­est to flash a header down­wards that bounced up into the top of Ndi­aye’s net on 77 min­utes.

Sene­gal ral­lied in the clos­ing min­utes and it took a se­ries of great saves by Arse­nal shot­stopped Ospina to keep Colom­bia in the tour­na­ment. – AFP

Yerry Mina

PIC­TURE: AFP

HEART­BREAK: Sa­dio Mane and Sene­gal were elim­i­nated by the slimmest of mar­gins.

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