Idrissa Gueye goal puts Senegal through to AFCON semi-final
Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye scored the only goal of the game as Senegal advanced to the Africa Cup of Nations semi-final by beating Benin.
Senegal, who are now the tournament favourites after Cameroon and Egypt were knocked out, will play Nigeria or South Africa in the semi-final.
Benin had drawn all four of their matches and reached the quarter-final by knocking out Morocco on penalties and faced an uphill task to compete against a more illustrious Senegal side.
They could have taken the lead in the first half though but Mickael Pote backheeled the ball wide from six yards from Cebio Soukou’s free-kick.
At the other end, Kalidou Koulibaly went inches away but heading Henri Saivet’s free-kick wide.
Benin had chances to score at the start of the second half. Sessi D’Almeida, recently released by non-league Yeovil Town, shot wide from long range before Pote’s shot was saved by Alfred Gomis.
Sadio Mane, the tournament’s top-scorer did have the ball in the back net after 54 minutes from Koulibaly’s free-kick but the flag was up for offside.
Senegal finally made the breakthrough with 21 minutes remaining. Gueye and Mane are bitter rivals throughout the Premier League season but the Liverpool striker found the Evertonian in the area to fire the ball into the net.
Mane once again thought he had scored when he rounded the keeper but a review on VAR showed he was, once again, offside.
Mane and Gueye combined once again in the closing stages, with Gueye being put through on goal. He was fouled by Olivier Verdon, though, and the Benin defender was sent off.
With 10 men, Benin struggled to make any headway in the final stages and time ran out to confirm Senegal’s place in the semi-final.