Ecuador 1-2 Senegal: Kalidou Koulibaly leads African team to World Cup Round of 16

Fate, perhaps. Kalidou Koulibaly sought inspiration from the late Papa Bouba Diop as he prepared for a date with fate, inscribing the number 19 on his yellow captain’s armband with a black marker.

Nineteen was the shirt number worn by the former Fulham midfielder when he scored Senegal’s famous winning goal against France in the 2002 World Cup final.

Here in Qatar, on the second anniversary of Diop’s death at the age of 42, Koulibaly scored the winning goal.

Kalidou Koulibaly qualified Senegal for the round of 16 after helping them beat Ecuador 2-1

Koulibaly's winner was a fine finish and came two minutes after Senegal were tied

Koulibaly’s winner was a fine finish and came two minutes after Senegal were tied

Senegal were jubilant as they reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2002

Senegal were jubilant as they reached the round of 16 for the first time since 2002

It was a side-footed volley to crush Ecuador, for whom a draw would have been enough to qualify from Group A, and send the African champions to the round of 16 of this World Cup.

There they will face England for the first time if Gareth Southgate’s side win Group B.

Senegal deserved their victory and although they will be without Idrissa Gana Gueye in the round of 16, it comes as a sort of consolation for their exit four years ago when they were knocked out at this stage of the FIFA Cup. world in a weird way.

Locked with Japan on points, goal difference and goals, they were eliminated due to receiving two more yellow cards in the group stage.

It was a bitter pill. This time it was Ecuador who broke down in tears at the final whistle. They had played so well in their first two games but here they seemed to freeze.

Moises Caicedo equalized for Ecuador from a corner kick to level the game for his team

Moises Caicedo equalized for Ecuador from a corner kick to level the game for his team

The Ecuadorian team's celebrations were cut short and they have now withdrawn from the World Cup

The Ecuadorian team’s celebrations were cut short and they have now withdrawn from the World Cup

Senegal took the lead in the 44th minute with a penalty won and converted by Watford striker Sarr, who was clumsily knocked down by Bayer Leverkusen centre-back Piero Hincapie as he drifted behind Ecuador’s back four from the left.

Sarr rose to score coolly from the spot, fixing the goalkeeper with his gaze as he walked to the spot and patted him inside the post without looking at the ball, to spark a celebration of mass with all substitutes.

It was a goal the African champions deserved, having made such a bold and adventurous start to the game that they needed to win if they were to progress.

Gana Gueye squandered a glorious chance in less than three minutes, shooting wide when well placed, but he wasn’t the only one. Boulaye Dia trailed far when played by Youssouf Salaby.

Ismaila Sarr opened the scoring for Senegal from a penalty kick at halftime

Ismaila Sarr opened the scoring for Senegal from a penalty kick at halftime

Sarr's opener was deserved for Senegal after an impressive first half for the African side

Sarr’s opener was deserved for Senegal after an impressive first half for the African side

Sarr was taken down by Piero Hincapie in a truly awkward challenge from the Ecuadorian defender

Sarr was taken down by Piero Hincapie in a truly awkward challenge from the Ecuadorian defender

Idrissa Gana Gueye, playing in an unknown No10 role, missed a big first chance for Senegal

Idrissa Gana Gueye, playing in an unknown No10 role, missed a big first chance for Senegal

Iliman Ndiaye of Sheffield United, started on the right for Senegal and tormented Pervis Estupinan of Brighton for the first 20 minutes. Ndiaye curled a wide shot to one side, Sarr did the same to the other and Salaby headed towards him.

Ecuador, who impressed with their high-intensity style in the first two games of the tournament, offered very little. As if paralyzed by the knowledge that one point was enough.

Their captain Enner Valencia, scorer of their three goals in Qatar and his country’s previous three World Cup goals, was fit to start despite a knee injury, but they barely managed to get out of their own half during the first 45 minutes.

Even so, it looked like the South Americans had weathered the storm by disrupting the rhythm of play and the game was more even as Sarr won the penalty and scored his 11th goal for Senegal.

The Senegalese fans were in good spirits throughout the match and were reimbursed alongside them

The Senegalese fans were in good spirits throughout the match and were reimbursed alongside them

It was heartbreaking for Ecuador who crashed out despite their promising start in the group

It was heartbreaking for Ecuador who crashed out despite their promising start in the group

Ecuador’s Argentine boss Gonzalo Alfaro made two changes at half-time and changed form to 442. Immediately his team looked more comfortable and benefited from more possession.

Senegal fell deeper and defended. Everton midfielder Gana Gueye, winning his 99th cap, was shown a yellow card for using an arm in a foul on Gonzalo Plata, a warning that would rule him out of the next game if his side progressed.

Very quickly, however, the initiative returned with Ecuador. A corner kick, headed forward by Felix Torres, was kicked into the net from close range by midfielder Moises Caicedo.

Senegalese Sabaly, standing next to a post, had played against Caicedo, but Aliou Cissé’s side reacted quickly and were back in front three minutes after a free kick.

He was thrown from the right by Gana Gueye, hit Ecuador captain Valencia on the hip and popped up nicely for Koulibaly, who guided him past the keeper on the volley with the inside of his right foot. He was the winner. Fate, perhaps.

Follow Sportsmail’s live blog for the World Cup Group A clash between Ecuador and Senegal.

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