Monday Nov 28, 2022. 11:27
Senegal’s World Cup fate is in their own hands as they face Ecuador at the Khalifa International Stadium in Al Rayyan on Tuesday knowing they must win to keep the dream alive.
Kick-off is at 5pm CAT (SA, GMT+2)
The Lions of Teranga trail La Tri by one point in third place, having picked up their first points in Group A after beating hosts Qatar 3-1 on Friday following a 2-0 loss to the Netherlands first up.
Aliou Cisse’s side were eliminated at the group stages in Russia four years ago and they’ll be determined to avoid suffering the same fate this time around.
The African champions became only the third team from the continent to reach the quarter-finals in the 2002 edition on their debut and they are hopeful of at least matching that feat on the Arabian Peninsula.
Cisse expects the South Americans to pose a tougher challenge than the Maroon and says his players cannot afford to switch off like they did against Qatar, who briefly pulled a goal back last time out before Bamba Dieng sealed the 3-1 victory.
“We have to think about the appropriate approach to the last match. We need to win to have a chance to qualify for the last 16,” he said.
“Our concentration must be better as we could have avoided the goal that we conceded [against Qatar], but the Ecuador match will be different.”
Ecuador are looking to progress to the last 16 for the first time since 2006 and they will likely adopt a more cautious approach on Tuesday.
A 1-1 draw against the Oranje on Friday kept Gustavo Alfaro’s men on the right path after they kicked off proceedings with a 2-0 win over Qatar.
Enner Valencia is the tournament’s joint-top scorer alongside Kylian Mbappe with three goals but he’s nursing a knee injury which forced him off in both games.
La Tri’s inspirational captain revealed that scans showed he had suffered a sprained knee, although he’s hoping to recover in time to face Senegal.
“I did tests and it showed I have a knee sprain, which is annoying me a bit,” Valencia said. “I played through the pain but the important thing is that I could help the team and we’re still strong.
“The knee’s improving, I have to do good recovery work and I hope to be able to play [against Senegal].”