Idrissa Gana Gueye smiles during the press conference

Senegal midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye was left a delighted party following the qualification of his country to the semi-finals of the 2019 AFCON championship.

Christened the Lions of Teranga, Senegal beat Benin 1-0 at the 30th June Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Gana, a midfielder who plies his professional trade at English Premier League club, Everton scored the match winner, coming in the 71st minute.

He was also named the man of the match as he saluted the rest of the teammates for the work well done.

Gana (shirt 5) dribbles the ball away from Benin’s Sessi Octave D’Almeida as Franck Mickael Pote closes on

I am very happy for our team especially since Senegal has not qualified for an African Cup semi-final for a long time. We managed to dominate, score and win this match to ensure this qualification. We tried to be patient at first and to respect the instructions of the coach. As soon as we scored, we went forward to attack even more but the main thing for us is the qualification

Idrissa Gana Gueye, Senegal Midfielder
Idrissa Gueye Gana scored the winning goal for Senegal against Benin

In the game proper, Senegal’s talisman Sadio Mane was denied by the Benin goalie Allagbe Kassifa Franck Owolabi on 12 minutes after a wall pass with Keita Blade.

Benin replied with a Cebio Soukou shot that flew off target.

Soukou’s curling free-kick from the left missed contact after two minutes later

On the half hour mark Henri Gregoire Saviet had a free kick delivery into the area missed by the big striker Niang.

Benin’s Sessi Octave D’Almedia (shirt 15) and Lamine Gassama got physical

Towards the end of the first half, there was a physical confrontation between Senegal’s right back Lamine Gassama and Benin’s dread-locked midfielder Sessi Octave D’Almeida.

Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal rushed to the scene to cool down the charged tempers of the two players.

Mane combined with Gana but the final ball from the midfielder was wanting as the half time ended goal-less.

Mbaye Hamady Niang fights for possession with Stephen Sessegnon

In the second half, Gana scored the day’s lone strike in the 71st minute.

Benin were reduced to 10 men to give numerical advantage to the Senegalse.

Since 2006, Senegal had not reached the semi-finals of the AFCON.

Sadio Mane in warm up with the rest of the Senegalese teammates

Team Line Ups:

Senegal XI: Alfred Amigo Junior Gomis (G.K), Lamine Gassama, Youssouf Sabaly, Kalidou Koulibaly, Cheikhou Kouyate (Captain), Idrissa Gana Gueye, Papa Alioune Ndiaye, Henri Gregoire Saivet, Keita Balde, Mbaye Hamady Niang, Sadio Mane

Subs: Abdoulaye Diallo (G.K), Saliou Ciss, Pape Cisse, Salif Sane, Moussa Kanate, Alfred Ndiaye, Krepin Diatta, Edouard Mendy (G.K), Ismaila Sarr, Mbaye Diagne, Sada Thioub, Moussa Wague

Head Coach: Aliou Cisse (Senegal)

Benin XI: Owolabi Franck Allagbe Kassifa (G.K), Seidou Baraze Guero, Emmanuel Philippe Imounie, Verdon Olivier Jacques, Moise Wilfried Adilehou, Jordan Souleymane Adeoti, Mickael Franck Pote, Cebio Soukou, Stephane Ssessegnon (Captain), Sessi Octave D’Almedia, Steve Michel Mounie

Subs: Fabien Farnolle (G.K), Anane Tidjani, Junior Salomon, David Djigla, Enagnon Kiki, Seibou Mama, Desire Segbe Azankpo, Jodel Dossou, Rodrigue Kossi, Rodrigue Fassinou, Cherif Dine Kakpo

Suspended: Abdou Adenon

Head coach: Michel Dussuyer (France)

Match Officials:

  • Center Referee: Mustapha Ghorbal (Algeria)
  • Assistant Referee 1: Mahmoud Abouelregal (Egypt)
  • Assistant Referee 2: Mokrane Gourari (Algeria)
  • Fourth Official: Gehad Gerisha (Egypt)
  • Commissioner: Gustavo Ndong Edu Akumu (Equatorial Guinea)
  • General Coordinator: Amadeo Nguema Ondo Bindang (Equatorial Guinea)

David Isabirye is a senior staff writer for Kawowo Sports where he covers most of the major events.

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