Afcon Roundup: Senegal held by Malawi and Guinea lose to Zimbabwe
Senegal was beaten to a 0-0 draw by Malawi minnows in Bafoussam on Tuesday, despite the return of players Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Idrissa Gueye. However, Senegal still topped Group B at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Guinea lost 2-1 to already-eliminated Zimbabwe in Yaounde and advanced as runners-up due to a stronger head-to-head record than Malawi.
Brave Malawi finished third and now wait until Thursday to find out whether they are one of the top four third-placed teams and will go to the second round.
Senegal entered the Cup of Nations as one of the favourites, but have won only once and scored just one in three matches through a Sadio Mane penalty.
The Teranga Lions, who finished second to Algeria in the 2019 Cup of Nations, took 97 minutes to defeat Zimbabwe and were held by Guinea and Malawi, who is ranked 109 places lower in the globe.
Malawi thought they should have been given a penalty in the second half when Bouna Sarr tugged Gomezgani Chirwa’s shirt, but the referee disagreed after consulting the VAR monitor.
Senegal summoned midfielder Pape Gueye off the bench in place of the ineffectual Boulaye Dia as they sought a late goal.
Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy, Napoli defender Koulibaly, and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Gueye all missed the first two matches due to Covid-19.
Zimbabwe won the continent’s premier competition for the first time since 2006 as they held off traditionally dominant Guinea.
A header from Knowledge Musona and a shot from Kudakwashe Mahachi gave them a two-goal half-time lead, which was reduced to one when Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita scored on 49 minutes.
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Salima Mukansanga of Rwanda 35, became the first woman to referee a Nations Cup game.
“We are super proud of Salima because she has had to work exceptionally hard to be where she is today,” said CAF’s referees boss Eddy Maillet from Seychelles.
“We know that as a woman she had to overcome serious obstacles to reach this level and she deserves a lot of credit.
“This moment is not just for Salima, but every young girl in Africa who has a passion for football and who sees herself as a referee in the future.”