Defending champions Senegal sent a resounding message to the rest of the Africa Cup of Nations contenders with a dominant 3-1 victory over Cameroon, securing their place in the knockout stages with a game to spare.
Aliou Cisse’s Lions of Teranga were in complete control from start to finish, building on their opening game’s 3-0 thrashing of Gambia with another emphatic display. The Indomitable Lions, on the other hand, are staring down the barrel of an embarrassing early exit after picking up just one point from their two matches in Group C.
Ismaila Sarr opened the scoring for Senegal in the 16th minute after Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana’s poor punch presented him with a golden opportunity. With key strikers Vincent Aboubakar and Karl Toko Ekambi absent, Cameroon lacked a focal point and struggled to break down a Senegalese defense that has conceded just once in their last eight group games.
Habib Diallo doubled Senegal’s advantage in the 71st minute, tapping in from close range after a delightful cross from Sarr. Cameroon finally registered a shot on target in the 83rd minute, but it was defender Jean-Charles Castelletto’s header that offered a mere consolation prize.
Substitute Georges-Kevin N’Koudou almost snatched an equalizer for Cameroon, but his inexplicable header from point-blank range went wide. In the dying moments, Sadio Mane put the icing on the cake for Senegal with a clinical finish, confirming their dominance and sending a warning shot to their potential opponents in the knockout stages.