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Koulibaly’s purpose places Senegal into spherical of 16 at World Cup

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Kalidou Koulibaly actually drew inspiration on his captain’s armband, writing the No. 19 on it in reminiscence of considered one of Senegal’s most liked gamers.

Then Koulibaly turned one himself.

The Senegal captain scored the successful purpose within the 2-1 victory over Ecuador on Tuesday, placing his crew into the spherical of 16 on the World Cup regardless of the absence of the injured Sadio Mane, the crew’s greatest participant and probably the greatest strikers on the planet.

The No. 19 was to honor Papa Bouba Diop, the Senegal midfielder who scored the successful purpose in opposition to defending champion France within the opening recreation of the 2002 World Cup. It was considered one of Senegal’s biggest soccer moments and a victory that began that crew’s run to the quarterfinals — nonetheless Senegal’s greatest efficiency.

“We wished to make him proud. We wished to offer homage to him,” Koulibaly stated of Diop, who died on the age of 42 precisely two years in the past Tuesday. “He was the one who made me dream once I was a boy. This was one thing we weren’t going to let slip.

“Thank God I used to be there to ship that ball into the again of the online.”

Solely a win in opposition to Ecuador would have taken Senegal via to the subsequent spherical from Group A, and Koulibaly scored the purpose that made it occur at Khalifa Worldwide Stadium.

A free kick from Idrissa Gueye bounced off an opponent and got here his means. Koulibaly threw out his proper foot and hit it previous Ecuador goalkeeper Hernan Galindez within the seventieth minute. Koulibaly then sprinted towards the nook flag and slid on his knees to rejoice.

The African champions took the lead after a first-half penalty from Ismaila Sarr. However Moises Caicedo evened the rating when he was left unmarked after a nook kick within the 67th minute.

At 1-1, Ecuador was going to advance and Senegal was out.

That end result would have been as agonizing as Senegal’s early elimination 4 years in the past, when the crew completed the group stage with a loss to Colombia and even on factors with Japan. Senegal was eradicated on a good play rule as a result of it had picked up two extra yellow playing cards than the Japanese.

This 12 months, Senegal coach Aliou Cisse was pressured to reinvent his ahead line following the harm to Mane, who despatched the crew a message earlier than the match. Koulibaly stated the Bayern Munich striker has additionally been an inspiration for the crew regardless of not being in Qatar.

“When it got here to his (Mane’s) harm, two thirds of the world most likely doubted that we’d be capable to qualify,” Koulibaly stated.

Senegal misplaced its opening match in opposition to the Netherlands 2-0 however gave itself an opportunity with a 3-1 win over host Qatar. Nonetheless, the crew wanted a victory over Ecuador.

“We have been up in opposition to a brick wall,” Cisse stated.

The 24-year-old Sarr gained the penalty when he was knocked over by a careless problem from Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie simply earlier than halftime. He side-footed his penalty into the underside proper nook within the forty fourth minute and nearly the complete Senegal bench and training employees ran to him.

Sarr additionally headed over to the nook flag to rejoice whereas placing his fingers over his eyes.

He can look now, as a result of Senegal has not less than yet one more match to play.

SENEGAL’S QUEST

Senegal now has an opportunity to match, and even higher, the nation’s scintillating run to the quarterfinals in 2002, when Cisse was the captain and the crew matched Africa’s greatest efficiency at a World Cup. No African crew has made the semifinals.

ECUADOR EMOTION

It was the top of a robust marketing campaign for Ecuador and striker Enner Valencia, who had scored his crew’s first three targets at this 12 months’s World Cup and performed in opposition to Senegal regardless of battling a foul knee pressure. Valencia was left consoling Galindez, who was tearing up close to the top of the sport and couldn’t maintain again after the ultimate whistle as he cried on Valencia’s shoulder.

WHAT’S NEXT

Ecuador go dwelling after lacking the possibility to go previous the group stage for under the second time within the nation’s historical past. Senegal completed second in Group A and certified for the final 16 with the Netherlands, which beat Qatar 2-0.

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AP World Cup protection: https://apnews.com/hub/world-cup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports



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