Senegal edge Benin to reach WAFU Cup semis

Senegal edged into the 2019 WAFU Cup of Nations semifinals with a slender 1-0 win over Benin at the Stade Lat Dior in Thies, Senegal on Thursday.

The first half was dominated by the Lions of Teranga and was one of missed chances, especially for striker Youssouph Mamadou Badji who squandered a few gilt-edged opportunities.

In the eighth minute Ousseynou Niang produced a great run down the left before squaring for Badji, but he fumbled his effort wide from ten yards out.

Ten minutes later Niang was on the end of another pin-point cross, this time from right-winger Ibrahima Drame, but his 12-yard header went just over the target.

On the half-hour mark the Senegalese striker was in the thick of the action yet again, but once more he headed a cross from Khadim Diaw inches wide of the goal.

Philippe Paulin Keny of Senegal celebrates after scoring a goal against Benin in the WAFU Cup.
Philippe Paulin Keny of Senegal celebrates after scoring a goal against Benin in the WAFU Cup.

On the stroke of half time the Lions of Teranga came as close as they could to scoring a goal when a right-sided free-kick from Diaw was tipped onto the crossbar by the Benin goalkeeper as the half ended goalless.

It was more of the same from Senegal in the second half and they finally took the lead in the 64th minute when goalkeeper Sheyi Damilola spilled a shot from Assane Mbodj into the path of Philippe Paulin Keny who tucked it home from close range mere minutes after coming on as a substitute for the decisive goal.

Dominique Mendy almost found the home side's second goal in the 83rd minute, but he saw his 20-yard shot skim the top side of the crossbar.

In the end it was a rather comfortable 1-0 win for the Lions of Teranga despite only finding the back of the net once, while Benin are the second tournament to exit the tournament.

Senegal will now face the winner of the match between Mali and Sierra Leone in the semifinals of the Cup competition on Oct. 8.