Kept at bay

BAFOUSSAM – Senegal and Guinea moved closer to reaching the last 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations following a 0-0 draw.
The Guineans had the only real chance of the first half when Seny Dieng saved a low effort from Morgan Guilavogui.
Senegal grew into the Group B clash after the break, as Abdou Diallo had a header tipped over and Bouna Sarr dragged a shot across goal and wide. Both sides have four points after two games, which could see them progress as one of four best third-placed teams. Senegal had needed a 97th-minute penalty to beat Zimbabwe in their opening game and Aliou Cisse’s side, who are among the favourites for the title, put in another disjointed display in Bafoussam. Cisse was without four first-choice players because of coronavirus, with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and captain Kalidou Koulibaly yet to feature in Cameroon and defender Fode Ballo-Toure and midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye testing positive after Monday’s win over Zimbabwe. The Teranga Lions lacked cohesion in attack and were careless in possession in the opening 45 minutes, and Guinea should have broken the deadlock with a counter-attack on the half-hour mark when captain Naby Keita found space on the right and centred for Ilaix Moriba. The teenager took a touch before teeing up Guilavogui, who saw his low shot clawed away by Dieng before alert defending from Saliou Ciss scrambled the rebound behind. Senegal, Nations Cup runners-up in Egypt in 2019, were brighter and more purposeful in the second half but influential Liverpool forward Sadio Mane struggled to make an impact and Sarr’s set-piece delivery was inconsistent. Yet the 24-team format means both Senegal and Guinea should reach the knock-out stages. Meanwhile, Roberto ‘Pico’ Lopes has insisted that Cape Verde will not be over-awed by taking on hosts Cameroon in their final Group A game at the Africa Cup of Nations. Despite Thursday’s 1-0 loss to Burkina Faso, a win for the Blue Sharks on Monday will be enough to see them qualify for the last 16 of the tournament and even a draw may prove enough to progress Cameroon have already qualified for the next round after their 4-1 win over Ethiopia and are now aiming to finish top of the group, but Lopes says his team have a chance of an upset. “I think this group has shown any team can beat anyone on their day,” centre-back Lopes said. “I know the score looks a bit flattering for Cameroon, but I thought Ethiopia were good at times from the moments I saw of them. “We will be going into the game against Cameroon confident that we need three points and confident that we can.” The Shamrock Rovers player expects a difficult encounter even if the Indomitable Lions rest players for their meeting in Yaounde. “No matter what Cameroon do, whether they want to change things up or stick with the same team, I know they are going to have a strong team,” the 29-year-old pointed out. “We have to bring our best because it is a strong team in front of the home crowd. I think some of the guys will be a bit low because we lost the game [against Burkina Faso] but we still have all to play for.” BBC

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