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AFCON 2019

INSIDE AFCON 2019: Senegal Nullify Tanzania’s Fairytale Hopes After 2-0 Win

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Senegal began their Africa Cup of Nations campaign with a routine victory over Group C rivals Tanzania in Cairo.

Aliou Cisse’s side – among the tournament favourites – went ahead through Inter Milan forward Keita Balde’s low finish after 28 minutes.

Krepin Diatta blasted in a second from the edge of the box with 64 minutes gone as the Teranga Lions dominated.

Senegal are Africa’s highest placed nation in Fifa’s world rankings at 22nd but have never won the tournament.

Without suspended Liverpool forward Sadio Mane for their opening match, Senegal wasted a host of chances as they peppered their opponents’ goal with 24 shots.

Tanzania, making a first appearance in 39 years following their 1980 debut, had goalkeeper Aishi Manula to thank early on as the 23-year-old twice denied M’Baye Niang in the opening six minutes.

Two minutes after slotting into the bottom corner, Balde should have added the 2017 quarter-finalists’ second but blazed over from Ismaila Sarr’s cut-back.

Rennes forward Sarr – a persistent nuisance – had a goal disallowed midway through the first half as Crystal Palace’s Cheikhou Kouyate was penalised for a handball in the build-up, while Badou Ndiaye’s ambitious overhead kick flew over the crossbar.

Manula again came to the rescue for Tanzania after the interval, stretching to guide a Diatta header to safety and smothering an effort from Sarr as the 131st-ranked side remained in touch.

But Senegal were untroubled at the back and Club Brugge midfielder Diatta made the points safe for Cisse’s side with an excellent first-time strike.

In the other Group C encounter, Algeria face Kenya at the same venue on Sunday.

Senegal will then battle Algeria on Thursday, while Tanzania take on Kenya later on the same day.

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