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14 Dec 2018
Senegal claim African title for second year running
The kings of the continent are crowned in Africa as Senegal defeat Nigeria and hosts take third place
Senegal have beaten Nigeria once again to claim their fourth CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations title in five years.
The Lions saw off the Eagles with six goals, while in the third place play off, Egypt managed to hang on against a feisty Morocco to take bronze on home sand.
This is how it all went down…
Nigeria 1-6 Senegal (FINAL)
So, these two old rivals met once again. This final represents the very pinnacle of African beach soccer and today’s matchup didn’t disappoint.
Despite having lost to Senegal in the group stages, as well as in the last final of the CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations in 2016, it was Nigeria who started on the front foot.
Abu, the Nigerian talisman, wasted no time at all in laying his side’s claim to the African throne, netting with just seconds gone to give the Eagles an early lead. But Senegal were back at the men in green in a flash, as Diange found the space to get strike them back on level terms.
Then Diassy, who had been in electric form throughout the tournament, got his name on the scoresheet too, grabbing the lead for Senegal. The following period of play saw a tantalisingly close contest, with Senegal keeping their very slender lead intact and the score remained unchanged until the last period.
Going into the third period, the match was tense and tight. The grand prize was still anyone’s for the taking, even though Senegal had the slimmest of advantages. However, the Senegalese had an extra gear to shift into, and suddenly threw everything they had at the Nigerians, who had done well to keep pace with their opponents.
The boosted offensive began with Fall who increased the advantage to two goals when he saw the keeper, Paul, off his line to send the net rippling. Then Raoul controlled the ball, whilst holding off a defender, to swivel and shoot to make it four to Senegal.
He scored again moments later, twisting and turning away from two defenders to drive a low shot past Paul. It was now 1-5, and when Diange ran onto a lay off to power a first-time shot home to make it six with just a minute to go, the match was out of reach for Nigeria.
As the final whistle blew, the victory was decisive and the title was in the bag for a fourth time in five years. Having led after just a matter of seconds, Nigeria would have to settle for second place once again…and a place in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup of course.
The Senegalese celebrated with their signature acrobatics, ecstatic to be crowned kings of the continent once more.
Another well-battled African final showed everyone that we can expect great things from these two teams on the biggest stage of all…next stop - Paraguay!
Goals: 1-0: Abu, min. 11 (1); 1-1: Diange, min. 10 (1); 1-2: Diassy, min. 7 (1); 1-3: Fall, min. 8 (3); 1-4: Raoul, min. 6 (3); 1-5: Raoul, min. 4 (3); 1-6: Diange, min.1 (3);
Egypt 3-2 Morocco (Third-place Play-off)
Following an agonising 6-7 defeat to Nigeria in the semi-finals, the best that the hosts Egypt could hope for in the 2018 edition of the CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations was to repeat the success of last year and take third place.
Morocco would also match their best ever finish if they could beat their hosts today, following their 2013 third-place finish.
The game kicked into action immediately, with both teams applying pressure early on. But the defenders were marking their opposing attackers especially diligently, making it very difficult for the strikers to get shots on goal.
As a result, the first period ended goalless, and it wasn’t until the third minute of the second period that the deadlock was broken, when Hassan struck the post, the ball bounced into the path of Mohamed who incredibly hit the other post. With defenders scrambling all around him, the number ten managed to put away the second rebound from a sitting position.
Egypt were off the mark and Morocco were playing catch-up. However, they were only trailing for three minutes as Iazal levelled up when he met a cross at the far post to knock the ball past Fawzy in the Egyptian net.
Abdoo snatched the lead back once more, just minutes before the whistle and Egypt held a slim advantage going into the third and final period, and it wasn’t long before they extended it, when Moustafa Aly burst into space on the right wing to smash in a third for his team.
The Egyptians suffered from some injuries during the third period. Mohamed was down in obvious pain with a facial injury and then goalkeeper Zezo had to be replaced by captain Mohamed Fawzy following a knock to the head.
This possibly worked in their favour, slowing the pace of the game and Morocco found it difficult to find goal-scoring form, and it looked as if a repeat of the last edition’s third-place play-off was on the cards.
However, with 18 seconds of the match left, Nassim struck home a volley to drag Morocco back to just a s single goal behind. But they ran out of time and as the final whistle went, the local crowd cheered their heroes.
The teams finish in the same positions are the last edition in 2016, with Egypt assuming third and Morocco fourth.
Goals: 1-0: Mohamed, min. 9 (2); 1-1: Iazal, min. 6 (2); 2-1: Abdoo, min. 2 (2); 3-1: Moustafa Aly, min. 11 (3); 3-2: Nassim, min. 0 (3);
Stay up to date with the results, fixtures and standing of the CAF Beach Soccer Africa Cup of Nations here.