Africans following the ongoing Russia 2018 World Cup finally got something to cheer on Tuesday as the Teranga Lions of Senegal recorded a slim victory over Poland.
After Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia all lost their opening matches, the Lions entered Tuesday’s match knowing the hopes of the entire continent rested on their shoulders.
They duly went ahead eight minutes before half time when Sadio Mane fed Idrissa Gana Gueye, and the Everton midfielder’s shot wickedly deflected off Thiago Cionek’s leg into the net.
The lead was doubled on the stroke of an hour. Mbaye Niang out-raced the Polish defence and Wojciech Szczesny after a lobbed pass had been inexplicably played behind by Grzegorz Krychowiak, leaving the former AC Milan man with the simple task of tapping the ball into an empty net.
Krychowiak attempted to make up for his error by heading home a free kick to halve the deficit, but it was too little too late as Senegal held on for a famous African victory.
The Lions face Japan next, on Monday, knowing a victory guarantees their progression to the round of 16.
Meanwhile, Egypt are an hour away from facing hosts Russia, knowing they must win or manage a draw at least if they do not want the ignominy of becoming the first African country to be eliminated from the tournament.