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AFCON U-20: Senegal qualify for FIFA U-20 World Cup with quarterfinal victory over Benin

2023 Africa U-20 Cup of Nations favorites Senegal secured qualification to the 2023 FIFA U-20 World Cup on Thursday with a 1-0 quarterfinal victory over Benin at Cairo International Stadium. Samba Diallo’s headed goal early in the second half was enough for Les Lionceaux who were in control throughout the match against a Beninese side who struggled to make a charge to level the match. Senegal will meet the winner of Friday’s matchup between Tunisia and Republic of Congo in the semifinals set to take place on Monday.

A talented Senegalese team showed excellent form on their way to winning Group A in Egypt but encountered a decent challenge from Benin who finished as one of the two best third placed teams in the group stage. Senegal controlled the opening forty-five minutes but failed to create clear opportunities with Diallo coming closest in the 41st minute, firing a first-time shot just wide after excellent work from Souleymane Faye on the left wing.

Fortunately for the Lion Cubs they broke the deadlock in the 51st minute. Star midfielder Lamine Camara curled an excellent free kick into the Beninese penalty area and Diallo was able to dive onto  the ball and steer his header past goalkeeper Rahman Karim. Diallo should have put the match away in the 67th minute after Karim’s attempt to come out of his area ended with the keeper missing the ball and taking out his own defender. However after Faye passed to Diallo for an easy finish the Dynamo Kiev attacker somehow put his shot off the crossbar.

It was not Senegal’s best performance but Benin failed to produce a serious comeback attempt. After Benin’s Sègnon Vignigbe sent his header wide in the fourth minute of second half stoppage time it was time for the Senegalese to celebrate their fourth qualification for the FIFA U-20 World Cup.

Highlights are below.

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