World Cup 2018: 5 best and worst players from Senegal 0-1 Colombia

Colombia secure qualification to the knockout stages with a win over Senegal
Colombia secure qualification to the knockout stages with a win over Senegal

Colombia edged past Senegal at the Samara Arena to finish as winners of Group H with 6 points, and secured qualification to the knockout stages of the FIFA World Cup despite losing their first game against Japan.

Jose Pekerman's side had to win if they were to progress to the round of 16, and Colombia were duly rewarded in the 74th minute for their continued efforts.

Yerry Mina leaped ahead of his counter-parts to head home the only goal of the game following a crisp delivery from a Juan Quintero corner to help his side go through to the next round as winners of the group ahead of Japan, who finished second despite losing to Poland and Senegal.

Senegal dug their own grave in the second half by resorting to a backs to the wall approach in an attempt to try and salvage at least a point that would have helped them qualify, and Colombia slowly settled down to take full control of the proceedings.

The result now means that Colombia and Japan will progress from Group H to face the runners-up and winners respectively from Group G, while Senegal's elimination signaled the end of African involvement in this year's tournament.

Without further delay, let's take a closer look at the best and worst performers from this do or die game at the Samara Arena.

#5 Best - Kalidou Koulibaly (Senegal)

Koulibaly will be gutted about the end result
Koulibaly will be gutted about the end result

Despite ending up on the losing side and being eliminated from the World Cup on the basis of their disciplinary record after being tied on points and goals with Japan, Kalidou Koulibaly can keep his head high without a shadow of doubt.

The Napoli defender has been one of Senegal's most impressive performers over the course of the tournament and he has well and truly justified his hefty price tag to potential suitors who might want to keep a close eye on him.

Koulibaly was impressive against Colombia and almost won every aerial duel he contested on the night. The 27-year-old looked composed on the ball and was not shy of playing it out from the back whenever required.

He played a crucial role in keeping Falcao at bay throughout the game and was spot on with his positioning and awareness of the game.

We will not be seeing the Senegalese in the tournament anymore, but it is quite obvious that he might make the headlines with a big money move sooner rather than later.

#4 Worst - Falcao (Colombia)

Falcao struggled to make an impact
Falcao struggled to make an impact

Colombia's skipper struggled against the physicality of the Senegalese defenders and was cut out as a frustrating figure for the majority of the game. Falcao failed to hold the ball up on several occasions and found it extremely difficult to get past Senegal's rigid back-four on the night.

The 32-year-old failed to register a single attempt on target and also squandered two headed opportunities that he managed to conjure against a resolute Senegal defence.

Part of his below par performance on the night might be due to Kalidou Koulibaly's excellent showing throughout the game, but considering the amount of quality he has in his locker, it is safe to say that El Tigre was undeniably way below his usual standards.

#3 Best - Juan Quintero (Colombia)

Quintero is slowly becoming Pekerman's trump card
Quintero is slowly becoming Pekerman's trump card

Juan Quintero yet again shouldered the responsibility of pulling the strings from midfield for Colombia and he did it in style for the Los Cafeteros for the third game in a row.

Jose Pekerman's decision to withdraw James Rodriguez in the 30th minute raised a few eyebrows, during the entire process Quintero and the gaffer had a little chat on the touchline that conveyed a lot of unspoken words.

It is as clear as daylight that Quintero is slowly becoming Colombia's trump card in this year's tournament, just like Rodriguez in Brazil four years ago. This statement does not negate the Bayern Munich star's relevance in the camp, but it signifies the fact that Colombia are not short of options in midfield.

Quintero was influential yet again and left his mark on the game when he provided the perfect delivery from the corner routine that paved the way for Yerry Mina's winning goal on the night.

#2 Worst - M'Baye Niang (Senegal)

Niang was toothless in attack for Senegal
Niang was toothless in attack for Senegal

Senegal's target man M'Baye Niang was toothless while leading the line for the Africans on the night and struggled to make things happen in front of goal.

The 23 year old struggled against the likes of Davinson Sanchez and Yerry Mina, the duo gave the lanky striker no room whatsoever to operate, and Niang did not do himself any favours with his poor touches and lack of intent.

The striker was well marshaled on the night and Senegal's lack of quality in the final third certainly took its toll on possible opportunities that fell in his path. Niang also picked up a booking in the game that would have seen him miss the next game if Senegal had actually progressed. If only!

#1 Best - Yerry Mina (Colombia)

Mina has now scored 5 goals in 14 games for Colombia
Mina has now scored 5 goals in 14 games for Colombia

Yerry Mina scored for the second consecutive game with his header in the 74th minute that helped Colombia finish as group winners in Group G.

After being left out in their loss against Japan, Mina made a mark in Colombia's win over Poland with a well taken goal, and continued his goal scoring form against Senegal as well.

Apart from scoring his 5th goal in 14 games for the national team, the 23 year old looked sharp at the back for Colombia and hardly put a foot wrong during the entirety of the game. Mina established a formidable partnership at the heart of the defence with Davinson Sanchez, and was able to keep the Senegalese attackers at bay for prolonged periods.

Mina grabbed the headlines when he scored Colombia's most important goal in the tournament so far, and for a player who is uncertain about his future at club level with FC Barcelona, he has made quite an impression over the last couple of games.

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Edited by Anthony Akatugba Jr.
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