Senegal completed an unbeaten 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign with a 2-0 win over Madagascar at Stade Lat Dior in Thies on Saturday night.
Mbaye Niang scored both goals as the Teranga Lions finished top of Group A with a haul of 16 points from a possible 18, underlining their status as one of the favourites for the AFCON finals in Egypt later this year.
Barea, who were also already sure of qualification before the match, finished second with 10 points. Securing their first appearance at the Nations Cup finals represents a great achievement, though this clash in West Africa will have given them an idea of just how tough their tournament debut may be.
Senegal looked in control from early on and went ahead in the 27th minute, with Mbaye Niang capitalising on poor position from the Madagascar defence before finishing past goalkeeper Ibrahima Dabo to make it 1-0.
The Teranga Lions were unable to add their advantage in the remainder of the first half, though they needed just 11 minutes of the second to find the back of the net again. Niang showed his hunger to impress by scoring a well-taken second, effectively ending the game as a contest.
Madagascar came out of their shell once Senegal had scored a second time and they nearly pulled a goal back through Paulin Voavy with just under 20 minutes of regulation time to play, but goalkeeper Edouard Mendy made a fine save to keep his side’s 2-0 lead intact.
The Teranga Lions will go on to host fellow AFCON finalists Mali for a friendly in Dakar on Tuesday night.
Senegal (1) 2 (Niang 27’ 56’)
Senegal: Mendy, Sabaly, Koulibaly, Sane, Wague, Sarr (Thioub 86’), Gueye, Diaw, Niang (Konate 69’), Diatta (A. N’Diaye 76’), Mane
Madagascar: Dabo, Morel, Metanire, Mombris, Fontaine, Andrianantenaina (Ilaimaharita 66’), Amada, Voavy, Andriamatsinoro (Gros 75’), Andriatsima, Rakotoharimalala.