Senegal advanced to the Round of 16 of the 33rd Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) on Tuesday, after settling for a goalless draw with Malawi in their last Group B match.
In the match played at the Stade Omnisports de Bafoussam, the Teranga Lions earned their second draw from three matches to finish top with five points.
Senegal were yet to impress in the tournament and were now looking to stamp their authority, while Malawi were looking to cause an upset.
A win would guarantee a spot in the knockout stage of the competition for the Flames.
But it was Senegal who took the initiative to Malawi from the kick-off, with Habib Diallo seeking an opening through a header to Bouna Sarr’s cross which was wide off the mark.
Moments later, Sadio Mane missed a good chance to put his team in the lead as he could not keep his shot down from Sarr’s lovely cutback.
On the other hand, Gabadinho Mhango was looking dangerous as he began causing all sorts of problems for the Senegalese defence.
His best effort came from a set-piece which he was unfortunate not to convert as it deflected wide of Mendy’s goal.
Malawi stood resolute in defence and starved the star-studded Senegal attack of the ball in the closing stages of the first half.
The Senegalese team stepped up their game at the start of the second period, looking to take control of proceedings.
Diallo came close to scoring but Malawian goalkeeper Charles Thom was quick to react and tip the ball over the bar.
Thom made another great save this time from Idrissa Gueye’s well-taken free-kick.
Malawi had a penalty kick claim waved away by VAR check, following an alleged infringement in the penalty area.
Neither side could eventually find the breakthrough as Senegal sailed through, while Guinea joined them in spite of their loss as runners up