Afcon 2019: Cheikhou Kouyate hails Senegal’s defensive performance against Uganda

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The Teranga Lions kept a clean-sheet against the Cranes to progress to the quarter-finals of Afcon

Cheikhou Kouyate has praised Senegal’s defensive display in their 1-0 victory over Uganda in the Africa Cup of Nations Round of 16 game on Friday.

Sadio Mane’s 15th-minute strike made the difference against the Cranes as the Teranga Lions won their first game in the knockout stage of the continental tournament since February 2006.

The West Africans frustrated Sebastien Desabre’s men in the encounter with their well-organised defence to keep a clean sheet and secure their third win in the competition to the delight of the 29-year-old.

“It was a difficult game against a strong opponent. We could have conceded the equalizer at any time, but we were solid and managed to keep a clean sheet.” Kouyate told Goal.

Kouyate who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Crystal Palace was deployed to the heart of Senegal’s defence by coach Aliou Cisse against the Cranes.

“Whoever plays as a defensive midfielder can play as a defender easily. I do what the coach and the team need," he added.

Kouyate has warned his side to be well-prepared for their quarter-final clash with Benin, who surprisingly eliminated Morocco in the Round of 16.

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“They are a very strong team that managed to draw with Cameroon and Ghana and defeated Morocco. We need to be careful and study them well.”

Senegal have never won the Africa Cup of Nations in their history, with their best outing being the 2002 edition, where they finished as runners-up behind Cameroon.

“Winning the Afcon? We are here to give our all for the honour of our country. We deal separately with each game then see what can happen,” Kouyate concluded.

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