Senegal will meet Burkina Faso in Wednesday’s Africa Cup of Nations semi-final after squeezing past Equatorial Guinea on Sunday evening.
Aliou Cisse’s side were always strong favourites to progress but needed to dig deep and required goals from half-time substitutes Cheikhou Kouyate of Crystal Palace and Watford’s Ismaila Sarr to see off their unfancied opponents.
Sadio Mane was central to Senegal’s opener, the Liverpool forward carving open Equatorial Guinea’s defence with a beautifully weighted pass to usher in Famara Diedhiou, who finished with aplomb in the 18th minute.
With their first meaningful attack, Equatorial Guinea were awarded a penalty by the referee when the ball struck the hand of Kalidou Koulibaly, but the decision was overturned by VAR.
However, just five minutes later Equatorial Guinea’s bravery was rewarded, Jannick Buyla poking home from Pablo Ganet’s cross after fine approach play.
Not content with their equaliser, Equatorial Guinea pushed for a winner, but Emiliano Nsue just couldn’t stretch enough to tap a dangerous cross home at the far post.
But a lapse in concentration in defence would cost them dearly when, in the 68th minute, Kouyate was waiting in anticipation to lift the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper Jesus Owono.
Sarr made sure of the victory in the 79th minute, slotting into the bottom corner after a terrific assist from Saliou Ciss.