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.
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 qualificationIdrissa Gana Gueye, Senegal Midfielder
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.
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.
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.
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)
- 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)