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AFCON 2023: Senegal holds off late charge to down Cameroon

Reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal are perfect through two matches at the 2023 edition following a 3-1 victory over Cameroon on Friday in Group C action from Yamoussoukro. Ismaïla Sarr put the Lions of Teranga ahead by halftime and then set up Habib Diallo for the second goal before Sadio Mané ended any hopes of a Cameroonian comeback in second half stoppage time. The Group C leaders have secured passage to the knockout stage ahead of their final group clash against Guinea while Cameroon will need a victory on Tuesday against The Gambia.

Cameroonian supporters continue to be displeased with the state of their team and the early stages of Friday’s clash were not encouraging. Senegal took control early and put the Indomitable Lions on the back foot before their dominance was confirmed with Sarr’s goal in the 16th minute. Cameroon goalkeeper André Onana, making his 2023 AFCON debut under controversial circumstances, failed to adequately punch away a corner kick and the ball was recycled into the penalty area where Sarr’s shot was deflected past Onana.

The Senegalese team continued to look in control for the remainder of the first half and also after halftime, exceeding Cameroon in every department. Cameroon held out well defensively but a moment of quality from the Senegalese attack doubled their lead in the 71st minute. Quick passing through the midfield left Sarr with plenty of space on the right where his low cross went through the legs of Cameroon left back Nouhou Tolo and was finished by a sliding Diallo.

Cameroon performed well in the final twenty minutes and should have leveled. A short corner kick in the 83rd minute came back to Olivier Ntcham and the substitute whipped in a cross to find defender Jean-Charles Castelletto for a powerful header past Senegal keeper Édouard Mendy. Indomitable Lions winger Georges-Kévin N’Koudou missed two opportunities to level from crosses, the second chance a header that inexplicably went wide from an excellent cross by Castelletto. A nervous spell for Senegal finished with a relaxed conclusion after Pape Gueye’s cross in stoppage time found Mané who hit a cleverly placed first-time strike past Onana to confirm the victory.

Highlights from the Group C match are below.

Match Highlights

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