A sublime header by Papa Diallo in the semi final helped steer Senegal into the final stage of the 2022 Africa Nations Championship (CHAN) as they beat Madagascar 1-0 in Algiers, at the Nelson Mandela Stadium.
Papa Diallo scored the lone goal in the match after just five minutes, the fastest goal in the tournament so far, as he connected to a Mamadou Sane pass from the right to net a looping header past the Madagascar custodian Zakanirina ‘Nina’ Rakotohasimbola who was early off his line.
Moussa Ndiaye, who was in fine form, sent a well-placed pass to Diallo in the box but Nina was in the right place at the right time to deny the Generation Foot forward from doubling the advantage.
Senegal forward Cheikh Ibra Diouf then found himself in a one-on-one situation against Nina, but the latter was quick to block the attempt to further frustrate Pape Diaw’s side who continued to ask questions of the Malagasy.
Malick Mbaye then stepped forward to beat Avizara Soloniaina and cut into the box and his pass to Diallo was perfect for yet another Senegal goal but Nina who put up a man-of-the-match performance denied him this time.
Madagascar continued to fend off the Senegal charge in the second half and when Cheikhou Ndiaye got to a lose ball from a corner kick, Soloniaina Berajo cleared but his diving header hit the crossbar to save Madagascar the blushes and avoid an own goal.
In the 83rd minute, Diallo beat the Madagascar defence and even though Nina left his line, Diallo’s effort went over the bar.
The Barea whose attacking prowess led by Koloina and Tokinantenaina Tsiry was questioned on the night as they sought rare scoring opportunities, but their efforts were not enough on the night.
Senegal will face off with Algeria in the final on Saturday still at the Nelson Mandela Stadium in Algiers, 10:30 PM EAT.
The hosts Algeria beat Niger 5-0 to make the final, and will now have a chance to revenge their AFCON defeat against Senegal, when the two sides meet on Saturday.