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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Young domestic-based Senegal defeats Mozambique for first COSAFA Cup points

In a matchup featuring two of the COSAFA Cup’s younger teams, Senegal came out on top 1-0 over Mozambique thanks to a excellent finish from 18-year-old Pape Djitte to move up to second place in Group B. The result means Mozambique are on the outside looking in for a top-2 qualification spot, only accumulating one point from their opening two matches.

Both sides had plenty of energy and enthusiasm but precision and decision making was lacking in the final third all throughout. The Senegalese had a bit more quality and looked to attack with direct play while Mozambique attempted to possess the ball a bit more. Djitte was the standout performer on the day and the Teranga Lions ventured through him on the left flank where the majority of their first half opportunities originated.

In the 12th minute Djitte collected the ball out wide and sent in a speculative high cross to the far post that was headed back across the Mozambican six yard box. Tall target man Abdoul Ndoye was there for a golden opportunity but failed to connect well with the ball and his miskick popped up into the air. Albert Diene was also there and jumped up for a header from close range but Mozambique goalkeeper Ernan Siluane came up with a spectacular save to keep the ball out. Mozambique’s only shot in the first half came in the 20th minute when Melque Melito hit an effort from outside the Senegalese penalty area that was tipped away by ASC Jaraaf custodian Pape Ndiaye.

The first half passed without much occurring and the same was the case for most of the second, with one moment of quality making the difference. Right on the 62 minute mark, Ndoye received the ball centrally and lobbed a well place pass out to Djitte, who had switched sides and was now operating on the right wing. Djitte took down the ball well and sent a perfect finish high and just inside the far post to beat Siluane and Senegal had their lead.

Mozambique sent more players forward in the final stretch of the match but despite an onslaught of corner kicks, failed to generate more than half chances on the Ndiaye’s goal. In the end the Mambas continued their trend of keeping the matches close but looking rather toothless in the attack as they fell to defeat with no goals to show for their two games so far.

Highlights are below.