With this victory, the African team reached the knockout stage of the World Cup for the second time. Senegal finished six points in Group A, one behind the Netherlands, who beat hosts Qatar 2-0.
Ecuador, needing a draw to qualify for the last 16 for the second time since 2006, finished third on four points after a match played to the relentless beat of the Senegalese fans’ drums.
The last 16 beckons to Senegal! 👏 🇸🇳 @adidasfootball | #FIFA world cup
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Ismaila Sarr converted the penalty in the 44th minute to put Senegal ahead, but Ecuador equalized through Moises Caicedo in the 67th minute.
However, that joy for the South Americans lasted just three minutes as Koulibaly restored Senegal’s lead, which they were able to hold for the rest of the game.
Senegal, who reached the quarter-finals on their previous knockout stage visit in 2002, will face the winners of Group Bwith England, Iran, the United States and Wales.
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Idrissa Gana Gueye shot wide early on and Senegal striker Boulaye Dia had a great chance when he had a good view of the goal, but shot wide of the far post.
The decisive moment of the half came late when Sarr was plowed over by Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie and picked himself up to convert the penalty, nailing goalkeeper Hernan Galindez to the spot as the shot lodged into the bottom corner.
That qualified feeling. https://t.co/wwgxAsSMbn
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The course of play changed in the second period as it was Senegal who were happy to sit back and push a desperate Ecuador for an equaliser.
It came midway through the half when Felix Torres tapped a corner and Caicedo was unmarked at the back post to ensure an easy finish. He is the first player other than Enner Valencia to score in the World Cup for Ecuador since Ivan Kaviedes in 2006.
Ecuador’s sizable supporters in the stands erupted in revelry, but it was halted shortly afterwards when Senegal struck again.
The South American side failed to clear a corner and the ball fell kindly to Koulibaly who slammed into the net from six yards out.