Saturday Oct 09, 2021. 23:21
Senegal maintained their perfect record in Group H of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers after they defeated Namibia 4-1 at Stade Lat Dior in Thies on Saturday night.
The result – secured by goals from Idrissa Gueye, Famara Diedhiou, Sadio Mane and Keita Balde – sees the Teranga Lions top of the log on nine points. The Brave Warriors are second despite the defeat, but a full five points adrift of pole position. Congo (two points) and Togo (one point) complete the foursome.
Senegal pushed the pace from early on and were rewarded with a goal in just the 10th minute: Sadio Mane looked for a quick turn just inside the penalty area and lost control of the ball, but it rolled kindly for Idrissa Gueye to steer a shot beyond the right hand of Namibia goalkeeper Virgil Vries.
Despite their fast start, the Teranga Lions had a few uncomfortable moments in defence, with Peter Shalulile a persistent threat, while defender Bouna Sarr gave his teammates and coach a couple of hair-raising moments on his debut.
Nonetheless, Senegal underlined their potency and class with a second goal in the 39th minute: Ismaila Sarr powered free down the left flank before providing a perfect cross for Famara Diedhiou to score with a close-range header.
The hosts were 2-0 up the break and Namibia opted for a change at the start of the second half, with Larry Horaeb replacing Ivan Kamberipa. Senegal themselves swapped out Krepin Diatta for Keita Balde a few minutes later.
A third Teranga Lions goal arrived on 55 minutes, with Sadio Mane netting a fine solo strike which saw him slip past a couple of defenders before firing home a low, left-footed shot from the edge of the box.
Senegal took their foot off the pedal after Mane’s strike and allowed Namibia to take the initiative, with the Brave Warriors pulling a goal back in the 77th minute through substitute Joslin Kamatuka.
The West African heavyweights shook off their malaise after Namibia’s goal and took their lead back out to three goals in the 84th minute when Balde found the back of the net, snuffing out any hopes of an unlikely comeback from the visitors.
The teams will meet in the reverse fixture at the Orlando Stadium in South Africa (with Namibia’s home venues deemed unsuitable by CAF) on Tuesday 12 October. A win for Senegal would see them guarantee top spot and secure qualification for the final playoff round in March next year.
Senegal (2) 4 (Gueye 10’, Diedhiou 38’, Mane 55’, Balde 84’)
Namibia (0) 1 (Kamatuka 77’)
Senegal: E. Mendy, Ciss (Ballo Toure 89’), A. Diallo, Diatta (Balde 50’), Diedhiou, Gueye, Koulibaly, Kouyate (N. Mendy 72’), I. Sarr (Dieng 89’), B. Sarr, Mane
Namibia: Vries, Gebhardt, Hambira, Hanamub, Haoseb (Fredericks 81’), Hotto, Kamberipa (Horaeb 46’), Kambindu (Kamatuka 70’), Limbondi, Shalulile, Wesley (Papama 81’)