10 October 2019 12:52
The Teranga Lions came out victorious in an eventful game in Thies and have advanced into the final have reached the final of the West African Football Union Cup of Nations, after seeing off Mali with a 2-0 win. Second-half goals from Ibrahima Drame and Elhadji Kane steered Serigne Dia's men past the Eagles in an eventful match at the Stade Lat-Dior. Wednesday night's fixture turned out to be a physical contest with both teams throwing in tackles in the opening 45 minutes. Mali skipper Moussa Kone was the first player to go into referee Boureima Sanogo's book after bringing down Moussa Ndiaye. They were forced to make an early substitution after Kone appeared to have picked up an injury with Amadou Camara coming on.
The teams went into the break level despite several attempts with aerial balls in Thies. Senegal started the second half as the better side and their hunt for an opener paid off in the 51st minute. Ousseynou Niang drove through the Mali defence before laying an assist for Drame to score. The Teranga Lions had another chance to double the lead a few minutes later but Assane Mbodji blasted his effort way off target. The game continued with much more intensity from both teams, however, Senegal doubled their lead with a penalty.
Ousseynou Niang was brought down in the penalty area by an on-rushing Cheick Cadri and Kane stepped up to convert the resulting kick. Mali were further dealt a blow in the encounter as second-half substitute Ibourahima Sidibe was shown a straight red card for a clumsy tackle. Senegal ended the game on a high as the deafening noise of the home fans spurred them to the final of the regional competition. They will be looking to win the 2019 when they tackle in the final on Sunday. Senegal see out a 2-0 win over a Mali side reduced to 10 men. To watch WAFU Cup of Nations, sign up for ESPN+. Hosts Senegal earned a place in the Cup final of the 2019 WAFU Cup of Nations after beating Mali 2-0 at the Stade Lat Dior on Wednesday. The host nation controlled the flow of play from the onset but only managed to create their first scoring chance in the 18th minute when Philippe Paulin Keny met a left-sided free-kick with a strong 12-yard header that went inches over the target. Four minutes later Senegal were a threat again in the air when Ibrahima Drame got on the end of a corner-kick, but his eight-yard header skimmed the top side of the crossbar. On the half hour mark Mali fashioned their first scoring chance after individual brilliance from Mamaye Coulibaly saw him drive into the box from the left flank, but his 14-yard shot from an acute angle was well saved by the keeper. The Eagles suffered a bit of a set-back in the 41st minute when star man Moussa Kone had to leave the field, with what looked to be a stomach bug, and was replaced by Amadou Camara. Two minutes after coming on Camara looked to have won a penalty-kick after being pulled down inside box, but the referee failed to award it and the half ended goalless. Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix Six minutes into the second stanza Senegal took the lead when Ousseynou Niang beat two defenders on his way into the box from the right before squaring for Drame to tap home, 1-0. The Lions of Teranga should have doubled their lead in the 58th minute when an error in defence allowed Assane Mbodj through on goal, but he fired over from ten yards out with an empty net at his mercy. Mali tried to find a way back into the game but were caught on the counterattack in the 80th minute when Niang slipped Drame through on goal and he was brought down in the box by the keeper--leaving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Elhadji Madicke Kane stepped up for the home nation and coolly slotted the penalty-kick to make it 2-0. The match ended on a sour note for Mali when second half substitute Ibourahima Sidibe was shown a straight red card in the 84th minute following a tackle from behind on Niang. Senegal will now face Ghana, the defending champions, in the Cup final of WAFU 2019 on October 12.