The Khalifa Stadium erupted into frenzy celebration as Africa’s brightest hopes and number one team muscle up to beat Ecuador 2-1 to join Brazil, Portugal and France among early qualifiers for the next round.
Poor Ecudaor! They also had the crowd to contend with. Ecuador triggered off the looming exit of the host country, Qatar when they inflicted a 2-0 defeat.
The scoreline was set the tone for the recurring 2-0 losses by Qatar to both Senegal and Switzerland.
Senegal have Kalidou Koulibaly to thank as he was the destroyer of Ecudaor.
His winner was the back-breaker for the Ecuadorians.
The Aliou Cisse’s side went into the game a point adrift of their opponents, but a deserved victory saw them secure second spot in Group A behind the Netherlands, who beat hosts Qatar in the group’s other game.
Senegal were brightest from the outset and went ahead in the 44th minute when Watford winger Ismaila Sarr coolly slid home from the penalty spot after he had been fouled.
Moises Caicedo pulled Ecuador level midway through the second half, but Chelsea defender Koulibaly popped up in the 70 th minute to restore Senegal’s lead and send them into the last 16.