EM – Blunt Senegal are held by Malawi but top the Cup of Nations Group B standings




Heavyweights Senegal failed again, thankfully not conceding a penalty in Tuesday’s 0-0 draw with Malawi, but still finished top of Group B at the Africa Cup of Nations.

Senegal won the group of five Points despite having netted just once in his three games, from a late Sadio Mane penalty in the opening game against Zimbabwe.

Malawi and Guinea both finished on four points, but the latter finished second in the head-to-head rule, while the Malawians will now have to wait and see if they are among the top four third-placed teams who also round to the next promotion.

Malawi was furious when Cameroon’s referee Blaise Ngwa annulled a late penalty he had originally taken in the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam after Gomezgani Chirwa was brought down by defender Bouna Sarr in the penalty area.

The decision was overturned after review en, but Senegal is lucky as there was both a shirt ripping and a contact.

Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera had offered a payment of 1 million kwacha (US$1,223) to any player playing against Senegal , if the team advances to the second round. However, the chance to make history and be the country’s first team to advance in the tournament could be more rewarding.

Senegal had crowned newly crowned FIFA goalkeeper Edouard Mendy back into the team after losing the opening two games had missed due to COVID-19 and he was arguably the busier of the glove men, certainly in the first half.

Malawi used Frank Mhango’s pace and Francisco Madinga’s cunning to create a number of chances in the early stages that forced clever saves from the Chelsea keeper.

But the best chance of the half came from Mane, who hit Sarr’s cut-back but was only able to scoop the ball over the bar with a gaping net.

Mhangos The free-kick was deflected by Senegalese midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate just wide of Mendy’s goal, whose earlier yellow card means he misses the game in the second round.

Habib Diallo deflected a powerful header from a free-kick goal but Malawi’s debut goalkeeper Charles Thom made a fine save. Thom was on the team because tribe number one Ernest Kakhobwe is suspected of having malaria.

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