Colombia slides past Senegal 1-0, punches ticket to Knockout Stage


Photo Credit: FIFA

Colombia defeated the last African nation standing in Senegal in a 1-0 victory in Samara, taking their World Cup knockout stage status into their own hands and punching their spot into the next round.  Senegal nervously watched as Japan lost to Poland 1-0, hoping for another goal that would break the deadlock to the two nations had on goal differential in Group H. The goal never came as Senegal saw their spot slip away based on the second tie breaker: FIFA fair play points (the number of fouls each team has incurred) with a margin of two less yellow cards incurred in the group stage matches (six for Senegal, four for Japan).

In the first 15 minutes of the match, there were a few shots on goal, most notably was Colombia’s Juan Quintero’s shot from outside the box that was dutifully deflected away by the keeper.  The first half however, served mostly as a feeling out process between the two teams.  Despite a matchup of two pretty solid attacking sides, the tenor of the first half was very much defensive. Senegal only had a handful of shots on goal and Colombia did not have a single touch in Senegal’s box.

It wasn’t until the 74th minute when the breakthrough came.  The goal came off of screaming corner that was put away into the back of the net by Colombian defender, Yerry Mina, that put Colombia on top by a goal.  As the live standings stood, Senegal needed to either tie up the score or hope for another Poland goal against Japan.

For the rest of the match, Senegal relentlessly tried to get the equalizing goal that they so desperately needed, most notably from Cheikh N’Doye’s shot from a very difficult angle inside the box that Colombia’s David Ospina was able to block away.  As Japan stood firm stood firm in their loss some 400 miles away, so did Colombia, putting both teams through to the knockout stage of the World Cup. Colombia did not get away from this match unscathed. Key player, James Rodriguez, went down in the 31st minute with a reflaring of his injured calf.

It was an unfortunate end for a Senegal side that played a positive, attacking style of football.  They are a relatively young team with most of their core players in their early or mid 20s, with much of their team plying their trade in Europe.  They should be a force in African soccer for many years to come. Colombia, however, will continue their journey at World Cup 2018, where they will take on England in the Round of 16 this coming Tuesday, July 3rd.  


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based in Frederick, MD, USA. Multi-sport correspondent for Prost International and Prost Amerika focusing mainly on Soccer/Football and American Football

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