Sawane’s last-minute header secures U-17 AFCON title for Senegal  


By Francis Ofori  

Accra, May 20, GNA- The Teranga Cubs of Senegal have been crowned continental champions after beating the Atlas Cubs of Morocco 2-1 to win the Under-17 Africa Cup of Nations tournament at the Nelson Mandela Stadium, Algiers on Friday. 

Goals from Serigne Diouf and Mamadou Sawane were enough for the youth side to seal Senegal’s dominance on the continent with a fifth consecutive title whereas Abdelhamid Boudlal’s opener could not make any difference for the North African side. 

The champions came back from a goal down to complete a dramatic victory over their opponents who were left in dismay in the dying minutes of the game.  

It was an eye-catching display between two of Africa’s favourites, who were playing in the finals of the tournament for the first time.  

Morocco heading into Friday night’s duel had a huge task to accomplish playing against a ruthless Senegal side who had conceded just a  goal in five games, with 13 goals to their credit.  

The first ten minutes was a moment for Senegal to test the strength of their opponents with long range shots outside the 18-yard box to announce their presence in the game.  

Skipper Boudlal took advantage of that and punished the Senegalese side 14 minutes into the game after he danced through a well cemented defense to head home Abdel Hamid Maali’s corner.    

The North African side had no choice after grabbing that all-important goal than to adopt a defensive tactics till the first 45 minutes of the game came to a halt. 

After receiving a pep talk from Coach Saliou Dia, the second half seemed to be more of revenge for the men in green, Senegal who came all out to mount pressure on Morroco, using the wings as an easy route to break their backline.  

It was a back-to-back shooting practice outside the Moroccan territory who had also vowed not to open up their defense to suffer the consequences. 

The hunger and anger for a goal, the mood of the Senegalese fans and the pressure on the bench was enough to tell what a U17-AFCON trophy would mean to a nation who had won it’s last four continental competitions. 

Senegal’s struggle for an equalizer finally paid off after goal scorer Boudlal mistakenly had a touch of the ball with his hand in the 18-yard box.  

It was a well-structured penalty from Serigne in the 79th minute, leaving goalkeeper Taha Benrhozil in a state of confusion after going the opposite direction. 

The dominance from the champions still continued as they gave the Atlas Cubs no space to make it past the centreline.  

Substitute, Sawané needed just ten minutes to score that historic winning goal for his side as he managed to slot in a beautiful header 82 minutes on the clock to complete Senegal’s comeback campaign. 

Senegal held on to their lead in the dying minutes of the game as the centre referee blew his final whistle after six minutes of additional time.  



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