Senegal will play its first CAN final since 2002, after defeating Tunisia (1-0 ap) after a suspense scenario, with video assistance to arbitration (VAR), Sunday in half -final in Cairo.
A huge roar seized the final whistle in the 30-June stadium, deserted by the Egyptians. A roar at the height of the historical significance of the feat achieved by the Senegalese Lions, although they are favorites for the title.
Mocked for his lack of records, the country of more than 15 million people finally holds a second chance to put his name on the list of great African, after his only final lost in 2002.
Coach Aliou Cisse, with arms up and knees on the pitch at the end of the match, will have his revenge: captain of the defeated team 17 years ago, he will be on the bench Friday to touch that gold he hunting since taking office in 2015.
Eliminated on penalties by Cameroon in the quarterfinals in 2017, the Senegalese have this time shown a mind consistent with their great ambitions, emerging winners of a twists and turns.
- Two failed penalties -
They had to get up when a hand of Kalidou Koulibaly provoked a penalty for the Tunisians. Goalkeeper Alfred Gomis stopped the shot from Ferjani Sassi (75).
They had to get up after Henri Saivet missed in the same exercise against Tunisian goalkeeper Mouez Hassen (80th), five minutes later at the end of a crazy sequence, also marked by a start of fighting between journalists two camps in a press gallery.
They had to resist three minutes under high tension, when the referee Bamlak Tessema consulted the VAR for the first time of the tournament, for a hand of Idrissa Gueye (115th). But while Naïm Sliti was ready to shoot, the Ethiopian referee went back on his initial decision to award a penalty.
The height of this crazy scenario, the Senegalese hero is Tunisian: Dylan Bronn released the Lions despite himself, during the extension, pushing in his nets a ball very poorly cleared by his goalkeeper (100th). Close to the action, Cheikhou Kouyaté celebrated the goal by rushing on Cissé, as the symbol of a team in unison behind his coach who knows the road to the final.
But Friday, it will be good for them to write their own legend, achieving what no Senegalese team has managed to do before.
- 1-0, the Senegalese tariff -
Liverpool star Sadio Mané will play a big role, as always when Senegal plays. A double Champions League-CAN would make him a serious candidate for the Golden Ball, perhaps to succeed the Liberian George Weah, the only African to have received this award in 1995.
Against Tunisia, he was the most dangerous, but he lacked precision, like his selection that could fold the case in the regulatory time. At the 38th, he was on the verge of opening the scoring, but could not straighten his shot in the empty cage, having dribbled Hassen.
Earlier, Youssouf Sabaly found the cross on a superb shot wound (26th).
But it is written that nothing will be given to Senegal, despite all its talent. In the finals, he won on the same score of 1-0, against Uganda in the eighth, Benin in the quarter and now Tunisia.
Of course, the Carthage Eagles will keep this scenario regrets, especially as they have had the opportunity to score first, by Taha Yassine Khenissi (46th), Sassi (47th), and with this missed penalty.
Faced with his former team, the coach Alain Giresse has opposed a strong group in defense, and insubmersible mentally to the opposing domination. But in this game, Aliou Cissé, who succeeded him in 2015, was the strongest. Senegal is in the final, finally!
© 2019 AFP