from HUSSEIN HUSSAIN in Doha, Qatar
DOHA, (CAJ News) – SENEGAL have qualified for the Round of 16 at the World Cup Qatar 2022, and are the first side from the African continent to reach the knockout stage in eight years.
Elsewhere, Qatar suffered the humiliation of becoming their first host of the tournament to bow out with no points.
The Teranga Lions of Senegal secured a deserved 2-1 victory over closest Group A rivals, Ecuador, at the Khalifa International on Tuesday, to finish second.
Goals by Ismaila Sarr and Kalidou Koulibaly on either side of a Moises Caicedo equalizer, ensured the West Africans qualify for the second round for the second time since 2002, when they reached the quarterfinals.
On Tuesday, Senegal finished on six points after earlier beating the hosts.
The side that wins Group B, which is wide open with England, Iran, the United States of America and Wales contesting, now stands between Senegal and another quarterfinal berth.
Group A winners Netherlands (7 points), who beat Qatar 2-0 at Al Bayt, will meet the runners-up in that group.
At the Khalifa International, Senegal took the lead from the penalty spot in the 44th minute.
Sarr dusted himself up from a challenge by Piero Hincapie to convert.
Ecuador were back in contention after an easy finish by Caicedo in the 68th minute.
A draw would send the South Americans to the next round.
Koulibaly, however, put Senegal in control in the 70th minute after he reacted to a loose ball following a blunder by Ecuador hero-turned villain, Enner Valencia.
The knockout stages begin on Saturday.
Nigeria, missing in Qatar, were the last African side to compete at this stage, at Brazil 2014.
– CAJ News