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Senegal Becomes First African Muslim Country to Qualify to Round 16 in WC 2022

Lions of the Teranga navigated their way into the FIFA World Cup knockout stage with a hard-earned 2-1 win over Ecuador on Tuesday at the Khalifa International stadium.

This is the second time for Senegal to progress to the round 16 in their World Cup history, having qualified for the quarterfinals in their first debut in Korea/Japan 2002.

Winger Ismaila Sarr scored a penalty in the 44th minute, but Ecuador, who needed only a draw to reach the knockout rounds, equalized through Moises Caicedo.

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That joy for the South Americans lasted only three minutes as captain Kalidou Koulibaly restored Senegal’s lead, Reuters reported.

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The reigning African champion has dedicated the win to the memory of midfielder Papa Bouba Diop, who scored in the shock 1-0 win against France in 2002, and who passed away aged 42 two years ago to the day.

“This is for the family of Papa Bouba Diop,” Koulibaly said. “We wanted to make him proud and give homage to him. He made me dream as a boy.”

To The Next Round

Senegal is one of six Muslim countries who qualified for the competition, holding high hopes of reaching as far as possible in the international tournament.

So far, Iran and host Qatar have been eliminated, with high hopes now held on Tunisia, Morocco and Saudi Arabia to proceed to the next round.

In the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations, Senegal won the competition, defeating Egypt in a penalty shootout, and Mané scored the winning penalty, to earn Senegal its first Africa Cup of Nations,