Ecuador 1-2 Senegal: 5 hits and flops ft. Ismaila Sarr, Kalidou Koulibaly | 2022 FIFA World Cup

Ecuador v Senegal: Group A - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Ismaila Sarr battles for possession with Angelo Preciado 2022 FIFA World Cup clash between Ecuador and Senegal at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

Senegal have reached the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup for the first time in 20 years following their 2-1 win over Ecuador. The match took place at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar today (November 29).

La Tri needed just one from the match to progress to the Round of 16. Meanwhile, the Lions of Teranga needed all three to pip their opponents and seal their spot in the knockout stages.

The African side could've been in the lead as early as the third minute when Ismail Jakobs' cutback fell kindly to Idrissa Gueye's feet. However, he only managed to find the side netting from just outside the six-yard box.

Boulaye Dia and Ismaila Sarr came very close to scoring the opening goal, but neither player managed to keep their shot on target. Sarr (44') then broke the deadlock just before halftime when he won a penalty and converted it in style to put his team in the lead.

Ecuador emerged from the break with renewed focus as they fought hard to stay in the competition. Their pressure paid fruit midway through the second half when Moisés Caicedo (68') converted from a corner, much to the delight of the Ecuadorian fans.

However, their joy was shortlived as Kalidou Koulibaly (70') scored minutes later to restore Senegal's lead, one they managed to hold onto till the end.

This is Senegal’s fourth win in 13 attempts against South American sides, while Ecuador have suffered their first defeat in 10 games.

Senegal into the World Cup knockout stage for the first time in 20 years! 🇸🇳

Interestingly, the last time the African side managed to reach the knockout stages was in 2014, when Aliou Cisse captained the side. In Qatar this year, Cisse has broken the rut by leading them into the next stage as the coach. He also led them to their first Africa Cup of Nations title last year.

On that note, here are five hits and flops from Senegal's win against Ecuador:

#1. Hit - Kalidou Koulibaly | Senegal

Enner Valencia is stopped in his tracks by Kalidou Koulibaly.
Enner Valencia is stopped in his tracks by Kalidou Koulibaly.

Kalidou Koulibaly popped up with his first international goal in his 67th appearance to lead his team into the Round of 16. The captain registered 10 clearances and two interceptions, made five recoveries, won all seven of his ground duels and committed zero fouls. He was calm, composed and led by example.

Captain. Leader. Legend.And now, #FIFAWorldCup scorer 🇸🇳@Fsfofficielle | @kkoulibaly26

#2. Flop - Carlos Gruezo | Ecuador

Senegal took control of the midfield right from the start, which meant Carlos Gruezo was left chasing shadows all through the first half. He contributed very little to the team, both defensively and in attack, and was unsurprisingly replaced at halftime.

Jhegson Mendez's suspension was indeed a big blow for Ecuador. Throwing both Alan Franco & Carlos Gruezo straight to the lineup looked disasterous in hindsight. Defense is always their strength but it's never good to play for a draw.

#3. Hit - Idrissa Gueye | Senegal

Idrissa Gueye in action against Ecuador at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Idrissa Gueye in action against Ecuador at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Idrissa Gueye's defensive strengths have been well-documented over the years for Everton, Paris Saint-Germain and his national team. However, coach Cisse surprised everyone by starting him in a more forward position, in the hole behind the striker.

The 33-year-old pressed well and surprisingly turned out to be central to many of his team's attacks. It was his free kick that led to Koulibaly’s goal.

His night, however, will be soured by the fact that the yellow card he picked up rules him out of Senegal's Round of 16 match on November 3.

Idrissa Gueye's deliveries from corners and free kicks have been absolutely spot on.

#4. Hit - Ismaila Sarr | Senegal

Ismaila Sarr celebrates after scoring against Ecuador.
Ismaila Sarr celebrates after scoring against Ecuador.

Much of the African side's attack came from the wings, especially on the left where Ismaila Sarr set up camp. Ecuadorian midfielder Alan Franco, tasked with keeping Sarr quiet, failed to complete his task and was hooked at halftime. Right-back Angelo Preciado also had a torrid time, with Sarr twisting and turning past the defender on multiple occasions.

The 24-year-old's attacking instincts saw him win a crucial penalty for Senegal, which he duly converted in style to put his team in the lead.

No-look penalty at the World Cup?Ismaïla Sarr, you’re COLD! 🥶

#5. Hit - Moises Caicedo | Ecuador

Youssouf Sabaly battles for possession with Moises Caicedo.
Youssouf Sabaly battles for possession with Moises Caicedo.

Moises Caicedo was Ecuador's best player against Senegal. He battled hard in the middle of the park and scored a much-needed equalizer midway through the second half.

Despite his team not seeing a lot of the ball, he managed to register 60 touches and made 42 passes with an 81% success rate. He also won three ground duels and all of his aerial duels.

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Edited by Aditya Singh
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