Mina header dumps unlucky Senegal out in fair play first

Friday, 29 Jun, 2018

Needing only a draw from their tie against an already eliminated Poland, the Robert Lewandowski-led side that charged through their qualifying campaign have been had a disastrous World Cup; losing to both Senegal and Colombia without ever offering any suggestion to the contrary.

Senegal dominated the first half, completely nullifying the threat posed by Colombia's much-vaunted attack.

Carlos Sanchez returned to Los Cafeteros after sitting a one-match suspension of a red card just three minutes into the opener.

Such was the stranglehold Senegal had in the first half, Colombia failed to have a single touch of the ball in the opposition box as the sides went in scoreless at the break.

Japan might have faced elimination if Colombia and Senegal drew, but that wasn't the case as the South Americans pulled off a spectacular miracle and secured their progress to the knockout stages.

But a niggle in the warm-up to the World Cup has never really gone away.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse is proud of his team despite seeing them bow out of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation on fair play points on Thursday.

He won the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup and this latest setback came four years ago to the day since his wonder strike against Uruguay earned him the Puskas award for best goal of that year. But their 2-1 defeat to Japan spoke volumes of their shortcomings. "Honestly we are all disappointed, there was a way to win and we did not do it", said Mane, who was only a sporadic danger down Senegal's left.

Senegal had a free-kick from a good position on 63 minutes, but Mane continued the trend of woeful finishing when he slipped in the run-up and shot well over.

But Mina - also on target in Colombia's win over Poland last time out - proved the matchwinner for his side with a superb late header that was celebrated in style with a choreographed team dance. Rodriguez scored both goals, including one that was voted goal of the tournament.

Group G's top two England and Belgium await Colombia and Japan in the last 16, with Senegal unfortunate to be knocked out by the slimmest of margins.

Senegal could not score despite a furious effort in the waning moments, and the victory put Colombia atop Group H with six points.