Senegal held to goalless stalemate by Guinea in West African derby

By Beng Emmanuel

Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse says they are ‘living in difficult moments’ after being held to a goalless stalemate by Guinea in their second group B game of the on-going Nations Cup in Bafoussam. 

The 2019 Vice African Champions and the Syli Nationale both missed the chance to seal a spot to the last 16 of the 24-nations tournament with a game to spare tournament after winning their opening games. Only host Cameroon has so far reach  the knock-out stage. 

Senegal who are considered as favorites to claim their maiden Afcon trophy were without some key players like Napoli’s defender Kalidou Koulibaly, Chelsea’s keeper Edouard Mendy and PSG midfielder Idrissa Gueye. 

“We played without practically six regular players in today’s game. We hope to have them back in our next fixtures. It is a difficult moment for us”- Cisse said during post match interview on Canal+. 

The score line should have been different if Guinea converted at least one of their few chances. They could have easily won the game in the first half when skipper Naby Keita led a decisive counter-attack but Mogran Guilavogui missed the glaring opportunity to score from close range. 

The Syli Nationale were still the better team in the second half, possessing all the quality and threat. Senegal had little to offer especially in the first half and frequently gifted the ball to their opponents. 

But they woke up from their slumber and pressed late on. The Teranga Lions managed their first and best attempt at the 56th minute when Abdou Diallo’s  headed from Saliou Ciss cross but Aly Keita produced a smart save to touch the ball over the cross bar. 

Sadio Mane who scored the winning goal in their first game against Zimbabwe to record their first win failed to show a glimpse of his famed predatory instinct. He was inexplicably silent for most part of the game but later faded form.  He managed to escape Guinea’s defensive trap to serve Bouna Sarr but the Bayern Munich players shot wide. 

The result means Guinea and Senegal are tied on 4pts each at the top of group B. Although qualification to the next round isn’t assured yet, they are both regarded as favorites to advance from their group at the detriment of Malawi and Zimbabwe.

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