Ismaïla Sarr scored two first half goals as Senegal cruised to a dominant 2-0 victory over Republic of Congo at the Stade Lat Dior in Thiès on Sunday, helping the Teranga Lions to make it through the group stage of FIFA World Cup qualifying with sixteen points and an undefeated record. Despite having their passage to the next round already secured, the hosts were ruthless in the early stages and could have scored more.
The visitors from Republic of Congo managed to hold out in the first ten minutes, but from then on it was all Senegal. Watford attacker Sarr opened the scoring with a superb strike, receiving a pass from Kalidou Koulibaly on the left wing and then cutting inside before uncorking a beautiful curling shot in off the crossbar from twenty yards out. A couple of minutes after, it was Idrissa Gana Gueye who nearly doubled the lead when he curled in a free kick from the left wing that nearly snuck into the goal, but hit the crossbar and bounced clear with Congolese goalkeeper Christopher Mafoumbi rooted to the spot.
Still, it only took a few more minutes before the second goal came for Senegal with an intricate and rapid buildup resulting in the hosts doubling their lead. Left back Saliou Ciss started the sequence by combining with Habib Diallo and receiving a return pass from the Strasbourg player with space on the wing. The AS Nancy player then put in a perfect low cross that left Sarr with an easy tap in to make it 2-0.
There were one or two looks for the Congolese through talented young striker Guy Mbenza, but in general the Red Devils were largely overwhelmed and overmatched. Sarr embarrassed a couple of defenders in the 50th minute to get in on goal before Mafoumbi made a good save to spare the blushes of his defenders. Diallo then slalomed past multiple defenders and set up Krépin Diatta, who failed to finish by shooting wide.
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