Fierce defending from the Republic of Congo kept their Group A opener close at the 2023 Africa U-17 Cup of Nations but Senegal defender Serigne Fallou Diouf’s second half goal gave Les Lionceaux a 1-0 victory on Sunday. The Senegalese dominated play throughout but were relieved to earn maximum points after failing to convert several clear opportunities. Senegal will face fellow Group A favorites Algeria in their next match on Tuesday while Congo take on Somalia.
Senegal asserted themselves in the opening twenty minutes with two opportunities falling the way of Diambars FC winger Yaya Dieme, who should have opened the scoring in the 18th minute but sent his shot wide from close range after latching onto a cross from Amara Diouf. Soon after an excellent chance arrived for the Congolese when Senegal goalkeeper Serigne Diouf clumsily tripped up Ayel Wumba Nzouzi but the Génération Foot shot stopper atoned for his error with a kick save on Alexandre Boukoulou’s spot kick.
The penalty kick was Congo’s only shot on target and from then on Senegal looked like the only team capable of scoring. After a long stretch of good defending from Congo along with strong play from keeper Chelcy Prince Bonazebi, Senegal made their breakthrough in the 77th minute. A shot attempt from Abdou Aziz Fall was deflected high into the air towards the corner of the six-yard box where Papa Alioune Ndiaye won an aerial challenge with Bonazebi, nodding the ball back across for Fallou Diouf to finish past a defender guarding the goal line.
Video of Diouf’s winning goal is below.