CAIRO, Egypt, Jun 23 – Tanzania began their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) campaign on a losing foot, going down 2-0 to tournament favorites Senegal in the first Group C match played at the June 30 Stadium in Cairo on Sunday.
Goals in either half by Keita Balde and Krepin Diarra saw the Senegalese pick up three points to start their campaign on a high while the Tanzanians were left to lick their wounds.
The Taifa Stars were no at their best and Senegal would have won the game by a bigger margin despite missing their star Sadio Mane who was suspended for the tie. The West Africans who have played the most AFCONs without winning showed hunger to write off that history from the start.
Aishi Manula was a busy man all through the game and was forced into his first save barely two minutes into the game.
The Simba SC custodian came off his line to deny Mbaye Niang after Tanzania had lost the ball in midfield and play quickly launched into their box. Niang had another chance in the sixth minute when he was played through on goal, but hit the side netting.
Senegal were forced into a change after 20 minutes, Salif Sane coming off with an ankle injury after landing awkwardly and was replaced by Cheikou Kouyate.
The Teranga Lions kept their hunt on the front foot and broke the deadlock after 27 minutes when Balde sliced a low shot from the left after being put through by Idrissa Gueye following a good team move that started off on the right.
Four minutes later, Senegal should have been 2-0 up but wasted a chance with too much touches inside the box. Balde picked up Ismaila Sarr on the right with the lanky forward choosing to tee up Gueye from close range, the latter skying the effort.
Two minutes later, Sarr had a goal disallowed after Kouyate was adjudged to have handled the ball as he raced to a rebound off keeper Manula. Papa Ndiaye tried his luck with an acrobatic kick off a Balde freekick in the 41st minute, but it flew just over.
Seeing his midfield being walked over by the Senegalese, Tanzania coach Emmanuel Amunike made a change, Salum Feisal coming off for Farrid Musa two minutes to the break.
Senegal continued their dominance in the second half with Manula kept busy, making two crucial saves from Sarr and Niang.
He however gave in to the second goal in the 64th minute, a rocket of a shot from Diatta flying into the top left corner after the ball landed kindly for him at the edge of the box following a poor clearance off a corner.