Senegal held and Guinea lose, but both reach Cup of Nations last 16

AFP , Tuesday 18 Jan 2022

Senegal were held 0-0 by minnows Malawi in Bafoussam on Tuesday despite the return of stars Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly and Idrissa Gueye, but still won Group B at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Senegal s defender Bouna Sarr (L) fights for the ball with Malawi s midfielder Gerald Jr Phiri (R) during the Group B Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Malawi and Senegal at Stade de Kouekong in Bafoussam on January 18, 2022. AFP

​On an afternoon of surprises, Guinea fell 2-1 to already-eliminated Zimbabwe in Yaounde and scraped into the round of 16 as runners-up thanks to a better head-to-head record than Malawi.

Brave Malawi finished third and must wait until Thursday to see if they will be among the best four third-placed teams and qualify for the second round.

Senegal came to the Cup of Nations as one of the favourites but have won only once and scored only once -- from a Sadio Mane penalty -- in three matches.

Malawi believed they should have been awarded a penalty in the second half when Gomezgani Chirwa had his shirt pulled by Bouna Sarr, but the referee disagreed after looking at the VAR monitor.

Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy and Napoli defender Koulibaly missed the first two matches and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Gueye the second due to positive coronavirus tests.

Zimbabwe triumphed at the flagship African tournament for the first time since 2006 when they held on for victory over previously impressive Guinea.

A Knowledge Musona header and a Kudakwashe Mahachi shot gave the Zimbabweans a two-goal half-time advantage that was reduced when Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita netted on 49 minutes.

The final Group C matches are scheduled for later Tuesday with Morocco facing Gabon in Yaounde and the Comoros meeting Ghana in Garoua.

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