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U-17 AFCON: Algeria secure qualification, Senegal tops Group A with perfect record

Courtesy: CAF/Twitter

By Emmanuel Yaw Nkansah 

Could Senegal be capable of claiming a third continental football title in 2023? Looking at how dominant they were against Somalia in their final Group A fixture in the ongoing U-17 African Cup of Nations (AFCON), that might very well be within the realms of possibility.

Algeria also managed to clinch an automatic ticket into the quarterfinal stage after a limp performance against Congo in a game which they somehow managed not to lose.

Congo can only blame themselves for their failure to secure an automatic qualification spot for the quarterfinal stage after dominating their game against the hosts yet somehow failing to actually win the match. Statistically, the Congolese dominated proceedings with 62% of the overall ball possession and 14 (7) attempts at goal in comparison to a measly 5 (2) for Algeria, yet in spite of all that dominance, it was not until the 66th minute that they managed to find the breakthrough goal.

Joseph Ndzoukou was quick to pounce on the ball after the Algerian goalkeeper palmed away Abiga’s shot and fired home to give Congo the lead. That lead was short-lived, however, as the Algerians rallied and grabbed the equaliser in the 74th minute through Moslem Anatouf.

Congo’s attempts to reclaim the lead were rebuffed by the Algerian defence, and Hammache pulled off a couple of saves to ensure that the game ended 1-1, securing a second-place finish for the host nation in Group A.

Somalia came (made their U-17 Afcon debut), saw (scored their first ever goal and earned their first ever point at the U-17 Afcon), and were conquered, as a 3-0 defeat against Senegal saw them crash out of the tournament. To be fair, it was not as if the Somalians had much of a chance in the first place against the imperious Senegalese, but they might just wish that they crashed out in a less miserable fashion.

Dominated in all aspects throughout the game, with 38% ball possession to Senegal’s 62% and just 3 shots at goal, with not a single one of the three shots troubling Senegalese goalkeeper Serigne Diouf, it was a miserable outing for the East Africans.

While Senegal could have and should have scored a lot more, a whopping thirty attempts at goal gave them more than enough leeway for some profligacy in front of goal. Omar Sall gave Senegal the lead in the 7th minute before Amara Diouf doubled their lead in the 33rd minute. Somalia did better defensively in the second half, and that, in conjunction with the wastefulness of the Senegalese, meant that Somalia avoided suffering a humiliating loss.

Senegal did add a third after Yaya Dieme was fouled in the Somalian penalty area and converted the result in the 88th minute to secure a comfortable 3-0 win for the Young Teranga Cubs.

Senegal, after a dominant group campaign where they won all their games without conceding a single goal, will face the third-placed side from either Group B or C in the quarterfinal. Algeria will face Morocco in a fiery North African derby in the quarterfinals, while Congo, assured of a quarterfinal berth as one of the two best third-placed sides in the tournament, will take on Mali. With the U-17 Afcon kicking into gear.

You can catch all of the exciting quarterfinal games live on GTV Sports+.

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