The most anticipated top of the table clash in Group B involving West African Giants Senegal and Guinea ended in a goalless draw in their second match of the TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations at the Stade Omnisports de Bafoussam on Friday.
Liverpool teammates Sadio Mane and Naby Keita were playing on opposite ends with both players who were captaining their respective teams, looked to send their country into the Round of 16 having won their opening Group Matches with similar 1-0 scorelines.
Guinea came out of the blocks early with Ilaix Moriba having the first attempt of the game from a set piece but the effort was way off target.
Senegal responded quickly with Bouna Sarr seeing his shot blocked from outside the penalty area.
Seny Dieng the Senegal goal keeper denied Guinea what should have been the opening goal of the match. Morgan Guilavogui saw his right footed shot from the six yard box saved by Dieng at point blank range after good square pass by Ilaix Moriba.
The first half ended goalless with the Syli Nationale of Guinea edging the possession.
The second half started with Senegal looking more stronger of the two and doing more attacking. First it was Cheikhou Kouyaté attempting a header from a set piece by Bouna Sarr. Then just moments later Abdou Diallo's header which was destined to the top left corner was saved by Guinea Goalkeeper Aly Keita.
The Teranga Lions kept pushing Guinea to the limit with persistent pressure. Bouna Sarr nearly broke the deadlock after being fed by from skipper Sadio Mane but his effort went agonizingly wide of the left post.
Guinea Coach Kaba Diawara looked to soak the pressure from the Senegalese team by switching things up. Ibrahima Sory Conté came in for Ilaix Moriba in midfield.
Aliou Cisse responded by bringing on an attacking player Mouhamadou Diallo to replace Mame Thiam.
In the end both teams couldn’t find an opening and will have to wait for their final matches on Tuesday to qualify for the Round of 16. Senegal will remain in Bafoussam where they will play the flames of Malawi while Guinea and Zimbabwe will travel to Yaounde with their tie set for the Ahmadou Ahijo Stadium.
What they said
Kaba Diawara (Coach, Guinea)
"We came to carry the three points but we are contented with the single point as Senegal came back to the second half looking very strong and determined. It was a tough match but I am happy the reconstruction I have been doing to the team paid off considering we played a very formidable side respected in Africa. We created dangerous situations and our efficiency was very commendable now we go back and prepare for the last game in the group".
Aliou Cisse (Coach, Senegal)
"I am satisfied with the draw today against Guinea as we came back stronger in the second half unlike the first half where we were not perfect. Guinea played a perfect game and we have to commend them but now we go back and work to ensure we get three points from our next opponents Malawi. The competition has good teams and even though many people expect us to win all games our ambitions remain the same and we want to build from the draw ".