Senegal overcame a few hiccups against Ecuador to register a 2-1 win and qualify for the knockout stage of the FIFA World Cup.
At the Khalifa International stadium, Senegal ranked 18 on the FIFA ranking computer, went into the lead in the 44th minute through an Ismaila Sarr penalty conversion and went into the half-time break leading 1-0.
In the second half, Ecuador, ranked 44, hit back through Moises Caicedo in the 67th minute to draw level.
The lead lasted for just three minutes with Kalidou Koulibaly scoring Senegal’s second goal of the match to give the lead to the African Cup of Nations champions.
The Lions of Teranga, thus will make it to the last 16 of the World Cup for the first time in 20 years. The African champions, who are in Qatar without Idrissa Gueye and Sadio Mané, are likely to meet England should they win Group B.
Ecuador flopped on the promise of the opening match with Enner Valencia unable to revive himself one last time.
Senegal now join Portugal, Brazil and France in the last 16 stage.
Senegal which lost to The Netherlands 2-0, finished their league engagements with six points with two wins and one loss to finish second in the group behind leaders Netherlands. The European giants completed their league engagements with an all-win record, recording identical 2-0 wins over Senegal, Ecuador and Qatar finishing their league engagements with a comfortable win over hosts Qatar.
Senegal’s first win in the group came against hosts Qatar, while Ecuador had started the proceedings in the 29-day tournament with a 2-0 win over the hosts.
Hosts Qatar finished at the bottom of the table losing all their matches and conceding seven goals and scoring one goal, the worst record for the World Cup hosts. The hosts’ only goal of the tournament came in a 3-1 loss to Ecuador.
The hosts, who never featured in any of the editions of the World Cup but were playing in the current championship on account of being hosts, thus joined South Africa as the only hosts which did not make it beyond the first round.
Ecuador’s Argentinian coach Gustavo Julio Alfaro brought in three changes taking out Carlos Gruezo and replacing him with Jose Cifuentes, Alan Franco making way for Jeremy Sarmiento and Michael Estrada going out and Djorkaeff Reasco taking his place on the turf.
Thereafter, he brought in Jackson Porozo for Angelo Preciado as the South American side tried all combinations to break into the rival defense in pursuit of the equaliser.
On the other hand, Senegal coach Aliou Cisse also brought in a fresh pair of legs in the 74th minute to keep Ecuador at bay with Iliman Ndiaye making way for Cheikh Dieng and Pathe Ciss taking over from Nampalys Mendy
Referee Clément Turpin kept the proceedings under control by showing a yellow card for Idrissa Gana Gueye of Senegal in the 66th minute.