Kalidou Koulibaly’s nerveless volley sent Senegal into the World Cup’s knockout stages for only the second time in their history as they eliminated Ecuador 2-1 at a rowdy Khalifa International Stadium.
Zhe win means Aliou Cisse’s side finish second in Group A, setting up a last-16 meeting with Group B winners England on Sunday.
All three goals came from players based in England as Ecuador’s Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo cancelled out a penalty by Watford’s Ismaila Sarr before Chelsea defender Koulibaly’s side-footer won it.
Ecuador needed just a point to progress but paid the price for a passive display as Senegal were spurred on by an almost non-stop cacophony of drumming from their supporters in Al Rayyan.
Watford winger Sarr coolly stroked home from the spot, after being clumsily upended by Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie, to put the African champions deservedly ahead.
Ecuador levelled with their first real chance as Caicedo swept home Felix Torres’ flick-on but Koulibaly’s composed finish immediately regained the lead for Senegal, who knew only victory would be enough to go through barring an unlikely Qatar upset against the Netherlands.
They held out amid a nervy six minutes of stoppage time to finish as runners-up in the group behind the Dutch, who clinched top spot by handing the tournament hosts a third defeat in three games with a comfortable 2-0 win in Al Khor.
Netherlands 2, Qatar 0
In-form Cody Gakpo scored again as the Netherlands finished top of Group A, ending Qatar’s miserable involvement at their home World Cup with a third consecutive defeat.
Qatar’s dismal showing means they became the first host nation to exit the tournament with three group-stage losses, finishing bottom with no points.
The Dutch, who failed to qualify four years ago, progress to the last 16 with an unbeaten record and face the United States next.
PSV Eindhoven winger Gakpo has now scored the opening goal in all three of the Netherlands’ group games, driving forward and rasping a finish into the bottom corner on this occasion.
Qatar looked to hit back immediately but Ismaeel Mohammad’s shot on the stretch from outside the area was straight at Andries Noppert.
But Louis van Gaal’s men scored at the start of the second half to quash any Qatari hopes of a comeback as Frenkie de Jong poked into a open net after Memphis Depay’s shot was saved.
The Dutch could have won by more, as Steven Berghuis had a goal ruled out and also hit the crossbar. (BBC)