Ismaila Sarr inspires Senegal as they ease past Cameroon to reach AFCON last 16

By Sports Desk January 19, 2024

Marseille striker Ismaila Sarr starred as defending Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal eased their way into the last 16 with a 3-1 win over Cameroon.

Sarr’s deflected strike gave his side a 16th-minute lead and it was he who set up fellow frontman Habib Diallo after the break before Sadio Mane cemented victory at Stade Charles Konan Banny in stoppage time to guarantee his side’s progression from Group C.

Cameroon responded belatedly when Jean-Charles Castelletto powered home a header from Olivier Ntcham’s 83rd-minute cross and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou has guilty of a glaring miss before Mane scored, but Rigobert Song’s men will head into Tuesday’s final group fixture against Gambia with just a single point to their name.

Senegal went ahead after the Cameroon defence failed to deal with Pape Sarr’s 16th-minute corner.

The ball was fed back in to Sarr after goalkeeper Andre Onana had punched it to the edge of the box and he drilled in a low right-footed shot which took a slight deflection off Frank Anguissa and flew into the net.

The Indomitable Lions did not muster a single attempt on goal in the opening 45 minutes and might have fallen further behind six minutes before the break but for Enzo Tchato’s block after Lamine Camara had put Mane in on goal.

Aliou Cisse’s men continued to make the running after the restart, but Olivier Kemen got a sight of goal at the other end, only to loop his 55th-minute header from a deep free-kick high over.

Cameroon’s fortunes took a further turn for the worse with 19 minutes remaining when Sarr turned provider with a low cross for Habib Diallo to make it 2-0 from close range.

Castelletto gave Song’s side hope with seven minutes remaining and they should have been level when Nkoudou headed inexplicably wide in injury time before Mane wrapped up the points.

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