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West African rivals Senegal and Guinea settle for scoreless stalemate

Both teams lacked the final touch on Friday as Guinea and Senegal played out a 0-0 draw in front of a vocal crowd at the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations. The Lions of Teranga and the Syli Nationale are now tied at the top of Group B with four points each and qualification for the knockout stages all but secured. However, both sides are still continuing to await the arrival of attacking efficiency as they look forward.

The passion and competitive edge between the two teams was on full display in a game that featured its fair share of heated tackles and confrontations. As for the football, it took a while before either team began to threaten the goal. Guinea came out the better and more assertive team as Senegal continues to struggle with Covid-19 absences and the resulting lack of chemistry.

The best opportunity for either team in the first half arrived in the 31st minute when Saïdou Sow started a counter with a brilliant long ball, providing the Guinean attack with a 4-on-3 break. 18-year-old Red Bull Leipzig midfielder Moriba Fatouma collected a cross and fed the ball to Morgan Guilovogui streaking down the middle. However, Guilovogui’s shot was saved by Senegal goalkeeper Seny Dieng before left back Saliou Ciss scrambled back admirably to clear the rebound.

Senegal finally provided a threat in the second half through star Sadio Mané and Bayern Munich player Bouna Sarr. In the 53rd minute, Sarr sent in an excellent free kick service from the left wing but somehow neither Pape Abou Cissé or Boulaye Dia could get a touch to put Senegal up. A few minutes later it was Paris Saint-Germain defender Abdou Diallo who was left all alone by poor Guinean marking before Aly Keita tipped his header over the bar.

The attacking spell continued for Senegal in the second half with Mané heavily involved. In the 67th minute the Liverpool forward sliced through the middle of the Guinea defense and set up Sarr on the right side of the Guinean penalty area. Sarr cut by one defender and had an open look at goal, but sent his low shot wide to waste an excellent opportunity. A couple of minutes later, Mané picked out Dia with a cross at the near post but the Villarreal striker could not get a touch due to solid Guinean defending. The final twenty minutes and second half stoppage time saw both teams mostly resigned to a sharing of the points.

Highlights of the match are below. Senegal ends their group stage campaign with a matchup against Malawi while Guinea takes on the Warriors of Zimbabwe.


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