African champions Senegal booked their passage into the Round of 16 at the 2022 FIFA World Cup following their 2-1 win over Ecuador in their final group game in Qatar. The Teranga Lions finished their group campaign in second place behind Netherlands, who defeated hosts Qatar 2-0 in their match.
The Teranga Lions needed a win against their South American opponents to secure qualification for the knockout rounds for the first time since their historic 2002 run. Ecuador needed only a draw to progress after winning one and drawing one of their opening two games.
Senegal started the match on the front foot as they looked to secure a place in the last 16. Iliman Ndiaye, Boulaye Dia and Ismaila Sarr all took turns creating openings for the Teranga Lions but failed to really trouble the goalkeeper.
With half-time quickly approaching, Senegal received a lifeline after Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie upended Sarr in the box. The Watford man calmly slotted the resulting penalty into the back of the net in the 44th minute to give the African champions the lead.
Ecuador raised their tempo in the second half as their manager made a raft of half-time changes. They equalised just over 20 minutes into the half through Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo. The youngster was on hand to stab home from close range after Felix Torres headed a cross into his path in the 67th minute.
Senegal responded immediately, with their captain Kalidou Koulibaly rising to the occasion. The Chelsea man showed his impressive finishing ability by volleying an effort home from inside the box following a free kick that was not properly cleared. The Teranga Lions went back in front just two minutes after conceding an equaliser.
Senegal held on to secure the three points and a place in the last 16, recovering from the heartbreak they suffered in Russia in 2018 when they were knocked out by fair play rules. They will join Netherlands in the Round of 16 after the Europeans finished the group in first place with a 2-0 win over eliminated hosts Qatar. Goals from Cody Gakpo and Frenkie De Jong gave the Oranje passage into the second round.