Friday May 5, 2023
Senegal completed the group phase of the TotalEnergies U17 Africa Cup of Nations with a 100 per cent record, after beating debutants Somalia 3-0 in their final Pool A match in Constantine on Friday night.
The victory saw Senegal finish off the first round of the tournament unbeaten and without conceding a goal, while debutants Somalia bow out with a single point.
Omar Sall, skipper Amara Diouf and Yaya Dieme scored the goals for the Teranga Cubs and it should have been more, had they converted the myriad of scoring opportunities that fell on their feet.
They broke the deadlock after just seven minutes when Somali keeper Abdikadir Mohamed fumbled with a header from Sall off a corner and somehow let it slip from his hands.
Senegal had been off to a fast-paced start and before the goal Abdou Salam Konate had a header fly inches wide while Sall had a goal disallowed for offside.
Senegal continued dominating the tie and Sall had two more chances, first being slid through by Mamadou Lamine Sadio but his shot failing to hit the target while on the second instant, he shot marginally wide off balance after a tussle with a defender.
Senegal doubled their tally in the 33rd minute, skipper Diouf dribbling his way into the box from the right and off a tight angle managed to squeeze the ball between the keeper’s legs.
Somalia struggled to create chances as they failed to match Senegal’s physicality and seldom found space in the final third. Their closest opportunity at goal was in the 37th minute when they won a free-kick from range and Abdirahman Abdalla drove the effort just inches over the bar.
In the second half, both teams made changes to their personnel with Somalia looking to inject fresh legs to boost their hunt for goals while Senegal took the opportunity to rest some legs and rotate their squad with the quarter final in mind.
Substitute Dieme then put the icing on the cake with two minutes left scoring from the penalty spot, taking up the responsibility after he had been appended inside the box by Abdulkadir Mohamed.
Having been assured of topping the group, Senegal will now return to the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers where they meet the third placed team from either Group B or C in the quarter finals.