Malawi 0-0 Senegal: Favourites edge into AFCON last 16 despite scare


enegal moved into the last 16 of the Africa Cup of Nations but it was another disappointing performance as they drew 0-0 with Malawi.

Sadio Mane’s penalty against Zimbabwe is the only goal Senegal managed in the group stage, but they progress as Group B winners despite failing to yet click into top gear.

Malawi may join them, finishing third in the group with four points. It could have been much more for them, but a late VAR review overturned the referee’s decision to award a penalty.

An improved display was expected after Senegal were buoyed by the return of Idrissa Gana Gueye, Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly to the starting lineup, and they started brightly straight from kick-off.

The opening goal nearly came after seven minutes, when the ball was played low into the box and Mane ran onto it, but his dink from six yards out had too much on it and looped over the bar.

From then on it proved to be a real struggle for Senegal. Gabadinho Mhango caused problems in behind for Koulibaly, while Khuda Muyaba fired over with a decent shot from range as Malawi impressed in a low-key first-half.

It was much better after the break though from Senegal, with Habib Diallo having an effort tipped over and Abdou Diallo heading over a huge chance when he was completely free in the box from a free-kick.

The Malawi defence started to celebrate every block and save like a goal as they desperately tried to hang on for a point.

It looked like it was going to be even better for them, when Gomezgani Chirwa went down in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. However, the decision was harshly overturned after a VAR review, much to the anger of the Malawi players.

Famara Diedhiou volley a decent effort at goal late on but it was straight at the goalkeeper, as it finished goalless. Senegal will be relieved to have made it through to the knockout stages, but they will need to improve markedly if they are to make it deep into the tournament as expected.

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