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African U20 champions, Senegal crash out of World Cup



Africa’s indisputable U20 champions, Senegal did not carry to the World Cup, the same form that saw them winning six matches in the continent, scoring 12 goals and conceding none.

They are one of the three teams that have definitively crashed out of the on-going FIFA U20 World Cup in Argentina after a late goal by Colombia’s Oscar Cortes forced them to a 1-1 draw and elimination from the tournament.

Crashed out with Senegal are Guatemala, Fiji, and Dominican Republic. Still hoping to make it are some current third-place finishers – Nigeria (six points), New Zealand (four points) and both Slovakia and Japan  with three points each.

Senegal were initially cruising on with a 30th minute goal by Mamadou Camara. But no thanks to added time in the encounter with Colombia on Saturday night.

Despite leading for over an hour, a late Oscar Cortes strike sent Senegal tumbling out of the FIFA U-20 World Cup Argentina 2023.


Colombia began to fight back in the second period and almost found a way back into the contest when Alexis Castillo Manyoma connected to a deep Andres Salazar cross, but his downward header bounced up on to the Senegal bar.

They would equalise right at the death, though, when Oscar Cortes latched on to a ball into the area to superbly lob Senegal goalkeeper Mamour Ndiaye, preserving Colombia’s unbeaten record and sending Senegal crashing out of the tournament in dramatic fashion following Israel’s similarly-late goal against Japan.

In the African team’s favour, Colombia have now faced Senegal three times in the group stage of the U-20 World Cup, but have failed to defeat their African counterparts in any of them, following a 1-1 draw at New Zealand 2015 and a 2-0 defeat at Poland 2019.

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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