Moises Caicedo thought he had confirmed Ecuador’s place in the last 16 of Qatar 2022, but Senegal’s Kalidou Koulibaly had other ideas.
Senegal progressed to the World Cup knockout stage at the expense of Ecuador after Kalidou Koulibaly’s strike sealed a 2-1 win at the Khalifa International Stadium on Tuesday.
Aliou Cisse’s side went into the match a point behind their opponents, but a deserved win saw them finish second in Group A behind the Netherlands, who defeated hosts Qatar in their second group game.
Senegal were the brightest from the start and went ahead in the 44th minute when Watford winger Ismaila Sarr coolly slotted over from the penalty spot after being fouled.
Moises Caicedo equalized for Ecuador midway through the second half, but Chelsea defender Koulibaly popped up in the 70th minute to restore Senegal’s lead and send them into the last 16.
Senegal missed two great chances in the opening 10 minutes, Idrissa Gueye and Boulay Dia flashing just outside the penalty area.
Sarr headed wide from distance midway through the first half before Pathe Ciss curled a header into the roof of the net.
Senegal’s dominance was rewarded a minute before the break when Sarr headed home from the spot after being brought down in the area by Piero Hincapie.
Ecuador improved significantly after the break and equalized in the 67th minute when Caicedo tapped home at the back post after Felix Torres took a corner.
Their joy was short-lived, however, as Koulibaly booked Senegal’s place in the last 16 just three minutes later with a volley from the sideline from six yards after deflecting a free-kick into the path of an Ecuador defender.
Ecuador vs Senegal player ratings, World Cup
1. Ecuador (4-3-3)
GK: Hernan Galindez – 5/10 – Bamboozled for the penalty and couldn’t do a lot about Koulibaly’s strike.
RB: Angelo Preciado – 4/10 – A constant liability down Ecuador’s right.
CB: Felix Torres – 6/10 – Got a vital assist for Caicedo with his flick-on from the corner.
CB: Piero Hincapie – 3/10 – Such a needless foul to make for the penalty. Let his country down.
LB: Pervis Estupinan – 5/10 – Nowhere near as menacing as he was earlier in the group stage and Ecuador missed that.
CM: Carlos Gruezo – 4/10 – Contributed very little and was hooked at half-time.
CM: Alan Franco – 4/10 – Ditto. Ecuador didn’t need passengers, let alone two in midfield.
CM: Moises Caicedo – 7/10 – The only midfielder up for the fight, scoring a needed equaliser.
RW: Gonzalo Plata – 4/10 – Didn’t really show his promise until it was too late.
CF: Michael Estrada – 4/10 – Enjoyed some wins in early duels but faded very quickly.
LW: Enner Valencia – 4/10 – Similarly started brightly but couldn’t maintain that pace.
SUB: Jeremy Sarmiento (46′ for Franco) – 6/10
SUB: Jose Cifuentes (46′ for Gruezo) – 5/10
SUB: Djorkaeff Reasco (64′ for Estrada) – 5/10
SUB: Jackson Porozo (85′ for Preciado) – N/A
Manager: Gustavo Alfaro – 3/10 – Ecuador were flat from the off and did not deserve to advance based on Monday’s showing.
2. Senegal (4-2-3-1)
GK: Edouard Mendy – 6/10 – Didn’t have a lot to do despite Ecuador’s need to score.
RB: Youssouf Sabaly – 7/10 – Impressively got up and down the flank to Senegal’s aid.
CB: Kalidou Koulibaly – 9/10 – A captain’s performance at both ends, dragging his nation to victory.
CB: Abdou Diallo – 7/10 – Partnered Koulibaly well at the heart of the Senegal defence.
LB: Ismail Jakobs – 5/10 – Dragged back inside for Ecuador’s equaliser. Was otherwise fine.
CM: Pathe Ciss – 6/10 – Didn’t have to do a lot to win the midfield battle.
CM: Pape Gueye – 6/10 – Likewise completed the basics and that seemed to be enough.
RM: Iliman Ndiaye – 7/10 – Didn’t give Estupinan much rest, constantly asking questions of the Brighton left-back.
AM: Idrissa Gueye – 6/10 – Pressed well in the hole despite naturally being a defensive midfielder. Suspended for the last 16.
LM: Ismaila Sarr – 8/10 – Like Ndiaye showed there’s plenty of quality in the Championship, twisting and turning past Preciado.
CF: Boulaye Dia – 5/10 – Found it hard to get in the game. Most of Senegal’s attacks came from wide areas.
SUB: Nampalys Mendy (74′ for Ciss) – 6/10
SUB: Bamba Dieng (74′ for Ndiaye) – 5/10
SUB: Pape Abou Cisse (90′ for Dia) – N/A
Manager: Aliou Cisse – 8/10 – Senegal played with aggression and intensity from the off. They’re great value for their place in the next round.