Kalidou Koulibaly proved an unlikely matchwinner as Senegal reached the last 16 of the World Cup with a 2-1 victory over Ecuador, who are out of the tournament.
The Chelsea defender’s superb volleyed winner came only two minutes after Moises Caicedo had pulled Ecuador level from a corner, a result which would have taken the South Americans through in their place.
The African side fully deserved to qualify from their World Cup group for the first time in 20 years, largely in part to a first-half performance where they blew away Ecuador, who came into the match knowing they only needed a point to progress.
It took until the final minute of the opening period for Senegal’s dominance to count, when Ismaila Sarr was fouled in the area before confidently beating Hernan Galindez from 12 yards.
Though Caicedo briefly gave Ecuador hope midway through the second period it was a brief respite with Senegal still the more dangerous side even after Koulibaly’s goal, and Edouard Mendy’s goal was relatively untroubled as they jumped into second to set up a last-16 tie with the winners of Group B.
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