A 70th minute strike by Everton midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye booked a semi-final ticket for Senegal in the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations.
The strike was the only goal as the Teranga Lions beat Benin 1-0 in the first quarter-final match of the tournament on Wednesday.
Benin have had a good run in the tournament, drawing against four-time champions Ghana, the defending champions, Cameroon, at the group stage, as well as scaling past one of the favourites, Morocco, in the Round of 16.
Michel Dussuyer’s men were, therefore, upbeat going into the quarter-finals especially after qualifying with 10-men from their last encounter with the Atlas Lions.
Their steel showed in the first half of Wednesday’s match at the 30 June Stadium after they held Teranga Lions, who are also considered favourites to annex this year’s Cup of Nations.
Indeed, it will be the first time Senegal will win the trophy if they do on Friday, July 19.
But they would have to wait for their opponents in the semi-final and, if they win that, the final.
With 20 minutes to go to the end of their quarter-final game, star striker Sadio Mane gave a searching pass to Gueye, who fired into the right side of Fabien Farnolle’s goal.
A Mane strike a few minutes later was ruled out offside after the tournament witnessed its first application of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) technology.
But the VAR usage was quite unusual from what has been seen at other tournaments as Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal had to rather wait for communication on the field from officials.
But that did not dispirit the Senegalese as they kept the score at 1-0, despite the Beninois ending the game with 10 men.
Senegal will play the winner of the Madagascar-Tunisia quarter-final clash, which will be played on Thursday, July 11.
By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh|3news.com|Ghana