Senegal without Kalidou Koulibaly for African Nations Cup final
Senegal moved a step closer to a maiden African Nations Cup title with their semi-final victory over Tunisia yesterday morning (Singapore time), but they will be without key defender Kalidou Koulibaly in the title decider against Algeria on Saturday morning.
The imposing centre-back, who is regarded as one of the best in the world, was cautioned for a second time in three matches after conceding a penalty in their 1-0 win over Tunisia in Cairo, and will be suspended for the final.
"It's a shame we will be without Kalidou, he's vital in this team, a player who gives us a lot," said midfielder Badou Ndiaye, after the extra-time triumph at the 30 June Stadium.
"We will also be playing for him."
Koulibaly, who plays in Serie A for Napoli, was struck on the elbow by a fearsome shot by Ferjani Sassi as he turned his back, in an attempt to get his body in the way of the shot on 73 minutes.
It was pure bad luck for the 28-year-old, but there would have been a measure of relief when Sassi then botched the subsequent spot-kick.
Minutes later, Senegal missed a penalty of their own and the game then went into extra-time, where a bizarre own-goal from Dylan Bronn settled the match.
In the other semi-final, Riyad Mahrez rifled in a stoppage-time free-kick to earn Algeria a dramatic 2-1 victory over three-time champions Nigeria.
Algeria led through a first-half own-goal by William Troost-Ekong, before Nigeria equalised with an Odion Ighalo penalty on 72 minutes. Mahrez then settled the tie. - REUTERS