Abdoulaye Seck and Iliman Ndiaye scored second-half goals as defending champions Senegal beat Guinea 2-0 in Yamoussoukro on Tuesday to make it three wins from three in Africa Cup of Nations Group C, as both teams advanced to the last-16.
In contrast to what we have seen so far in the Ivory Coast, it was a game of few clear-cut chances with neither side overly committed to attack. It was no surprise when the first goal came from a set-piece before Ndiaye provided a neat finish.
Senegal top the pool with nine points, followed by Cameroon on four as they edged Guinea on goals scored. The latter will also advance as one of the best third-placed teams.
Senegal, who have been finalists in the last two editions and won in 2021, had coach Aliou Cisse back in the dugout after he spent the night in hospital with an infection following their victory over Cameroon in their previous match.
The defending champion’s goals came from their only two efforts on target, while Guinea had only one, a late effort that forced a good save from goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
Cisse will be delighted his side put up another stout defensive display as they conceded once in the pool stages, scoring eight goals themselves.
Sadio Mane had an off day but had an excellent chance to break the deadlock just before the hour-mark as he raced clear on goal, rounded Guinea keeper Ibrahim Kone but skewed his shot at an empty net horribly wide.
It was a goal the 31-year-old would expect to score and there was a look of disbelief on his face that he couldn’t find the back of the net.
Senegal did not have to wait much longer for the opener though as Seck stole a march on the Guinea defence from a Krepin Diatta free kick and powerfully headed into the net on 61 minutes.
Mane thought he had a second in the final 10 minutes, but he was well offside and the goal was ruled out, before substitute Ndiaye found a yard of space in the box and coolly doubled the Senegal advantage.