CAN 2022: Senegal took it towards quarter-finals after beating Cape Verde

The Lions will face Mali and Equatorial Guinea for a place in the semi-finals.


Everything seems so peaceful in this part of Cameroon. Bafoussam purrs like thousands of motorcycles, sometimes siglées the Nike swoosh, that endless whirl in this third largest city. Here, the streets are dressed, cleaned of garbage and other plastic bottles of bodies that tend to cover the damaged asphalt. Here it was proud to host the African Cup of Nations (CAN), which “allowed that cleans the city” and “dust off the sidewalks,” can be heard.

Tuesday, January 25, at 17 pm, this city without traffic jams – so little, compared to its big sisters Yaounde or Douala – said goodbye to the CAN receiving in his minimalist stage its final game of the tournament, knockout between Senegal and Cape Verde. It is the western derby of the continent, between two neighbors, two brothers, who share much more than the Atlantic Ocean. The new mayor of Dakar, Barthélémy Dias, is not it of Cape Verdean origin? On paper, Senegal, the first African nation has nothing to fear blue sharks (14 th ). In nineteen confrontations, this team won fifteen duels and bowed twice. The last was in 2000, at a tournament that no longer exists since.

It is 16 h 40. Suddenly, the stands of the stadium – as delicately placed around hills and forest – begin to shudder. Senegalese supporters come to see the silhouette of the icon of the country: El Hadji Diouf. The former captain has to raise his arm to be acclaimed as a head of state. Then, just before the kickoff, the speaker announced a minute of silence in memory of the victims who died the day before in a stampede that left at least eight dead in the match Cameroon, Comoros (2-1), before the Olembe stadium in Yaounde. Besides, on billboards, reading “Our condolences to all families,” signed CAF (African Football Confederation). A minute of silence will last only a few seconds.

A lack of rhythm, precision, design

It is 17 hours up to the West battle. Senegal must absolutely make amends for his first boring tower, as his game: without flame, without soul, without luster. On the lawn of Bafoussam, the finalists of the 2019 Lions are without canines: a goal scored in three games (Sadio Mané), two draws (against Guinea and Malawi) and a win against Zimbabwe (0- 1), thanks to a penalty unexpected seconds from the end of normal time.

On the field too, the Senegalese purr. After the first few minutes yet thundering (Sadio Mané hits the post), men to fall back into Aliou Cissé through: lack of pace, accuracy, creativity, even if they monopolize the leather. The game looks suspiciously like that of yesterday, between Cameroon and Comoros. Even on the power play – midfielder Patrick Andrade is expelled for having crushed ankle Pape Gueye (19 th ), after consultation of video assistance to arbitration (VAR), Lions n ‘arrive not develop their football, confused by a Cape Verde valiant. With Chelsea goalkeeper Edward Mendy, best goalkeeper of the FIFA (FIFA) for the year 2021, the defender of Naples kalidou koulibaly, or the middle of Paris Saint-Germain Idrissa Gueye, how is it that this armada fails to enchant and to let go? In the stands, Senegalese journalists have collapsed by tasteless game of their team and fear defeat.

Strike out

Fans, they continue to believe in it, giving rhythm and percussion: the sounds of djembes, they dance like metronomes without any break. Then twist of fate. At the 53 th , the keeper Vozinha hits wickedly Mane who is KO on the ground ; and after consulting the VAR, the Cape Verdean is expelled. A new, it’s not the same game. At nine, it’s easier, although the Blue sharks do not let go. Thus, the attacker Mane featured brand splendid strikes (63 th ) and Dieng Bamba doubled the lead in injury time. The Senegalese journalists smile again, and 10,545 people Stadium (20 000 seats) cheer the winners.

After four matches in Bafoussam, Senegal file in Yaounde in the quarterfinals and will challenge January 30, Mali and Equatorial Guinea. But to hope to go further in the tournament, the Lions will not only rely on the blows of fate, or VAR, but will finally break free and bite again.

/Media reports.