Senegal set up Zambia final
Senegal reached the final of the U-20 Africa Cup of Nations for the second time running thanks to a hard fought 1-0 win over Guinea in their semi-final clash on Thursday in Ndola.
Striker Aliou Badji’s header was all ‘Les Lionceaux’ needed to set up a meeting with host Zambia in Sunday’s final in Lusaka.
It was a game of two halves with Senegal dominating the first part, and Guinea in the second half.
After a scrappy start, lanky Badji headed past Guinea goalie Moussa Camara on 12 minutes from a Jean Jacques Ndecky cross from the right, for what turned out to be the only goal of the match.
The goal appeared to awaken the Guineans who almost responded five minutes later but Yamodou Toure’s shot rattled the post to the relief of the Senegalese.
Guinea remained in control but it was Senegal who had the chance to double the lead from the spot on the stroke of half time after Mohamed Camara was adjudged to have handled in the vital area. Ibrahima Niane stepped up for the resultant spot kick but his effort from the short distance was saved by Camara, which served a good point for Guinea going into the break.
The Junior Syli Nationale returned stronger and dominating possession, however the equalizer remained elusive. Striker Momo Yansane was the worst culprit failing to convert some decent chances on 81 minutes and nine minutes later, who could have changed the phase of the game
The Senegalese backline remained resolute and thwarted all the attacks of Guinea to cruise to victory.
Meanwhile, Guinea will face South Africa in the battle for bronze also on Sunday in Lusaka.
Total Man of the Match: Jean Jacques Ndecky (Senegal)
Joseph Koto (Head Coach, Senegal)
It was a difficult match and there was too much pressure on players. The penalty we missed also contributed to the pressure on us and it boosted the confidence of the Guineans. Guinea played well and gave us a good run for our money. The Guineans were very tactical and this compelled us to look for an alternative to counter them. It is always the duty of the coach to analyse the coach and deploy the best tactic and as well capitalise on the weakness of the opponent.
Now that we are in the final, our objective is to win the trophy. I have forgotten about 2015, where we lost in the final (at home to Nigeria). It is history now. It will be a game between the best teams in the tournament so far, Senegal and Zambia. In football, you win or lose, but our hope is to beat Zambia.
Mandjou Diallo (Head Coach, Guinea)
It was a tricky match. We played very well. Unfortunately, the football gods were not on our side today. We gave Senegal a lot of problems in their defence as my attackers were very much in the game. I did not change my tactics; however the absence of my captain (Mohamed Fofana) really affected us.
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