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Senegal Player Ratings: Koulibaly and Sarr make the difference as Teranga Lions reach knockout round

1:52 PM EST 11/29/22
Senegal players celebrate Ismaila Sarr's goal
GOAL rates how each player performed as the African champions sealed their place in the last 16 in Qatar

Kalidou Koulibaly and Ismaila Sarr were the difference makers for Senegal as the Teranga Lions sealed their place in the Round of 16.

Chelsea defender Koulibaly was immense in both boxes for the African champions while Sarr continued his great form to help Aliou Cisse's men to the knockout round for the second time in their history.

With Senegal becoming the first African team in the last 16 of the 2022 World Cup, GOAL rates how the Teranga Lions players performed.

  • Edouard Mendy of Senegal against Ecuador.

    Edouard Mendy 7/10

    Mendy did not have much to do as Senegal contained their opponents and prevented them from getting into their box.

    The Chelsea goalkeeper had redeemed himself against Qatar after a difficult game against the Netherlands but he was not tested by the South Americans on Tuesday.

    Mendy could not do much to prevent Moises Caicedo from netting Ecuador's equaliser with the Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder unmarked at the near post but he made one key save from Gonzalo Plata as the game wore on.

  • Youssouf Sabaly.

    Youssouf Sabaly 8/10

    He had a good game at right-back and did exactly what his coach would have asked as he never looked shaky on the few occasions that Ecuador made forays forward.

    Sabaly put in key tackles while also heading away any danger especially from set pieces. He was always happy to tuck inside and act as third centre-back whenever the Teranga Lions were on the backfoot.

  • Kalidou Koulibaly

    Kalidou Koulibaly 10/10

    The Senegal captain had a perfect game as he did not put a foot wrong. He proved vital in both boxes as he dealt with every ball that Ecuador brought in the Teranga Lions' danger zone, both in the air and on the ground.

    While he kept Ecuador at bay, he also proved to be the match-winner as he hammered home Senegal's second goal after latching onto a loose ball following Idrissa Gueye's free-kick just over three minutes after the South Americans had drawn level.

  • Abdou Diallo

    Abdou Diallo 8/10

    Playing alongside Koulibaly in central defence after being moved from left-back, Diallo also put in a great performance, covering for his captain whenever he ventured forward while winning key tackles at crucial moments.

    He ended the game after making four clearances while he blocked one shot in the second half.

  • Ismail Jakobs

    Ismail Jakobs 8/10

    The left-back was not just immense for Senegal defensively but also provided a lot going forward.

    Jakobs was on set piece duties during the encounter with his deliveries, especially from corners, causing the Ecuador defence problems while only poor finishing prevented his team from utilising them.

    The full-back was also not afraid of getting into the opposition box, acting as another offensive weapon. He put in great tackles in the final 10 minutes which disrupted Ecuador's rhythm and stopped them from delivering crosses in the box with Senegal holding on for the win.

  • Pathe Ciss for Senegal against Ecuador.

    Pathe Ciss 7.5/10

    Ciss got 27 minutes against Qatar and he seems to have shown enough to win his coach's confidence, earning him a starting berth.

    He showed great confidence in front of the defence, winning three out of as many aerial duels while making two crucial clearances.

    His steadiness allowed Idrissa Gueye room to roam forward and cause havoc for Ecuador and he also added calmness to the Senegal midfield by avoiding reckless challenges.

  • Idrissa Gueye of Senegal at the 2022 World Cup.

    Idrissa Gueye 9/10

    In what was his 99th cap for his country, Gueye was all over the pitch and nearly gave Senegal the lead after three minutes after shooting just wide having made a great run forward.

    The Everton midfielder put in great tackles while linking up play between defence and attack. One of his challenges, however, proved costly as it did not just yield a yellow card but also Ecuador's equaliser.

    Gueye was booked for a reckless challenge on Gonzalo Platta with the foul leading to the corner that the South Americans scored from and he will now be suspended for the last 16 after two yellow cards in three games. He, however, brought in the free-kick that saw Senegal score the second goal from.

  • Pape Gueye of Senegal.

    Pape Gueye 7/10

    Gueye was also another one whose performance from the bench against Qatar earned him a place in the starting IX.

    He offered support to Ciss, forming up a double pivot that made it difficult for Ecuador to break the African champions while also freeing up Idrissa Gueye to help out in attack.

    After managing just 18 minutes against the Netherlands on matchday one, Gueye looked comfortable, winning five out of six ground duels and four out of six in the air.

  • Iliman Ndiaye of Senegal.

    Iliman Ndiaye 8/10

    Starting his first game for Senegal, the Sheffield United man was not afraid of the big stage and caused Ecuador plenty of problems from the right hand of his team’s attack.

    Ndiaye was a menace in the box and came close to scoring shortly after Ismaila Sarr’s penalty but did not get the control he was looking for while in space in the box.

    The 22-year-old was on the pitch for 75 minutes and he should have impressed Aliou Cisse, having taken the place of Krepin Diatta in the starting XI.

  • Boulaye Dia

    Boulaye Dia 7/10

    Dia had a frustrating game upfront where only poor finishing prevented him from scoring.

    The forward had an opportunity to break the deadlock for Senegal in the first half after being put through by Sabaly but his shot went just wide.

    Another chance arrived later in the second half when he started a good run on goal only to shoot wide when clear.

  • Ismaila Sarr celebrates his goal against Ecuador.

    Ismaila Sarr 9.5/10

    Sarr has been the most impressive player for Senegal at the World Cup and finally got on the scoresheet.

    His run in the box yielded the challenge that led to the penalty and he stepped up and slotted it in, leaving the goalkeeper rooted to the spot, for Senegal's opener.

    That was after causing his opponent problems with his trickery and pace down the left wing. Sarr has stepped up to the plate in the absence of Sadio Mane and will need to maintain those levels in the knockout round.

  • Bamba Dieng of Senegal.

    Bamba Dieng 6/10

    Came in with 12 minutes remaining as Senegal sought to close out the game but could not do much offensively, only helping out with aerial duels when the Teranga Lions were holding on for the win.

  • Nampalys Mendy

    Nampalys Mendy 6/10

    Lost his place to Pape Gueye but was handed 16 minutes with Cisse keen to beef up the game in the closing stages of the contest.

    He won one tackle but did not have an influence on proceedings given Ecuador had resorted to bringing crosses into the box by the time he was introduced.

  • Pape Abou Cisse

    Pape Abou Cisse 5/10

    The Olympiacos defender was a late substitute when Cisse took off Dia with the intention of shutting out the South Americans.

    He only got five minutes, coming on after six were added, and formed part of a resolute low block for the Teranga Lions.