Diallo goal sees off spirited Mauritania

Diallo goal sees off spirited Mauritania
Ismaila Sarr of Senegal celebrates goal during the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers match between Senegal and DR Congo at Stade Me Abdoulaye Wade in Diamniadio, Senegal on 6 June 2024 ©Lamine Faye/BackpagePix

by Staff Reporter

Sunday Jun 09, 2024. 20:38

Senegal maintained their unbeaten record in 2026 World Cup qualifying after clinching a narrow 1-0 win over Mauritania at the Stade Cheikha Ould Boidiya in Nouakchott on Sunday, June 9.

Aliou Cisse’s side had to settle for a 1-1 draw with DR Congo on June 6, but they returned to winning ways on matchday 4 and moved to the top of Group B on eight points, one clear of Sudan ahead of their clash with neighbours South Sudan on June 11.

The Lions of Chinguetti continue to bring up the rear, having suffered a 2-0 defeat to the Secretarybirds on June 6 to leave them on a solitary point.

The hosts looked to hit Senegal on the counter at every opportunity and went close to breaking the deadlock on 12 minutes when Aboubakary Koita clipped the top of the crossbar with a fiercely-struck free-kick.

The Lions of Teranga soaked up the early pressure from Mauritania and threatened for the first time on 18 minutes as Habib Diallo forced Babacar Niasse into a sharp save at the near post after flicking a low cross from the left towards goal.

Niasse was called into action again on 25 minutes after Kalidou Koulibaly arrived at the back post to meet a free-kick, but his tame header was easily dealt with by the goalkeeper.

The 2021 Africa Cup of Nations champions would make the breakthrough just two minutes later, however, as Diallo directed a header past Niasse from six yards out after getting on the end of Pape Matar Sarr’s sumptuous cross on the left.

Koita caused more problems for the visitors in first-half stoppage time when he cut inside from the left and whipped in a vicious shot that Edouard Mendy had to tip over the bar to ensure his team remained in front at the break.

Ismaila Sarr thought he had doubled Senegal’s lead two minutes after the restart, but the Marseille winger strayed offside before tapping in from close range when Niasse had saved an initial long-range shot.

Amir Abdou’s side made a bright start though, and they should have been level on the hour mark, only for Abdallahi Mahmoud to miss the target from six yards out after Mendy had parried a shot into his path.

Tempers threatened to boil over on numerous occasions after Senegal players went to ground far too easily and the referee blew in their favour, angering the home crowd and bringing several stoppages in play.

The Lions of Teranga saw off late pressure from Mauritania to hold for all three points which took them to the head of Group B after four matches.

Mauritania (0) 0

Senegal (1) 1 (H. Diallo 27′)

Mauritania: B. Niasse, K. Diaw, N. El Abd, H. Houeibib, L. Ba, G. Fofana (B. Camara 79′), O. Ngom (M. Soueid 90+2′), A. Mahmoud (P. Yade 62′), A. Koita, I. Thiam (S. Amar 62′), P. Ba (A. Kamara 63′).

Senegal: E. Mendy, A. Seck, A. Diallo, K. Koulibaly, H. Diarra (F. Mendy 46′), I. Gueye, P. Sarr, M. Camara (N. Mendy 83′), H. Diallo (C. Ndiaye 76′), I. Ndiaye (A. Sima 90+10′), I. Sarr.

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