January 14, (THEWILL) – With their second group match ending in a 0-0 stalemate, Senegal and Guinea moved closer to the final 16 of the TotalEnergies 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Seny Dieng saved a low effort from Morgan Guilavogui, which was the Guineans’ only serious chance of the first half. And, after the break, Senegal became more involved with Abdou Diallo’s header being pushed over and Bouna Sarr’s shot swerving across goal and wide.
Senegal had to rely on a 97th-minute penalty to overcome Zimbabwe in their opener, and Aliou Cisse’s team, who are among the title favourites, produced another fragmented performance in Bafoussam.
Cisse was without four first-choice players due to the coronavirus, with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and captain Kalidou Koilibaly still to play in Cameroon, and defender Fode Ballo-Toure and midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye testing positive following the win over Zimbabwe on Monday.
In the first 45 minutes, the Teranga Lions lacked continuity in attack and were sloppy with possession.
On the other hand, Guinea should have broken the deadlock with a counter-attack on the half-hour mark when skipper Naby Keita found space on the right and centred for Ilaix Moriba.
The youngster took a touch before teeing up Guilavogui, who saw his low shot clawed away by Dieng before Saliou Ciss’ excellent defending scrambled the rebound behind him.
In the second half, Senegal, the 2019 Nations Cup runners-up in Egypt, were livelier and more purposeful, but influential Liverpool striker Sadio Mane, for the second straight game, struggled to make an impression, and Sarr’s set-piece delivery was unreliable.
In the end, there was no goal to separate both sides and they settled for a share of the spoils. However, after two games, both clubs have four points, putting them in a position to advance as one of the top four third-place teams.
With the 24-team structure, both Senegal and Guinea should qualify for the knockout stages, barring upsets in their final group matches on Tuesday against Malawi and Zimbabwe, respectively.