Senegal defeated Equatorial Guinea 3-1 to confirm their spot in the semi-final of the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.
Famara Diedhiou’s first-half strike and goals from Cheikhou Kouyate and Ismaila Sarr in the second half steered the Teranga Lions past the National Thunder in Sunday’s quarter-final clash.
Aliou Cisse retained the same starting XI that fired his team past Cape Verde on Tuesday, with Sadio Mane included after recovering from a concussion.
As expected, Senegal dominated the opening minutes with passes and their brightest moment came in the 18th minute with Mane playing a one-two before releasing to Boulaye Dia, whose shot was blocked.
Shortly after, Pape Gueye was shown the second yellow card of the game when he pulled Jannick Buyla down to stop an Equatorial Guinea attack, nine minutes after his teammate Saliou Ciss received the first booking.
Cisse's men got rewarded for their commanding display in the 28th minute with Mane playing a slick pass to Diedhiou and the Alanyaspor striker did not give goalkeeper Jesus Owonoa a chance with his low right-footed shot.
It was his first goal in Cameroon on his fourth appearance.
Five minutes later, Senegal came close to doubling their lead after a fine team movement as Mane played the ball across the face of goal but it was cleared by Basilio Ndong.
They kept piling the pressure on their West African rivals and in the 38th minute, Nampalys Mendy fired a shot from outside the penalty area and it was well saved by goalkeeper Owono.
After the break, Equatorial Guinea thought they had won a penalty when Iban Salvador played the ball on Kalidou Koulibaly's hand with referee Victor Gomes initially pointing to the spot but he rescinded the call after checking the Video Assistant Referee.
It did not take long for the National Thunder to get over the reversed decision as Jannick Buyla scored their equaliser in the 57th minute.
Pablo Ganet laid a lovely pass to Buyla who brilliantly placed his shot past goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.
The goal ended Senegal's record of four clean sheets in the tournament.
Cisse responded immediately by throwing Watford's Ismaila Sarr into the fray for his first outing since November and his involvement boosted their quest to regain the lead.
Five minutes after the hour-mark, Cisse made a double substitution with Cheikhou Kouyate and Bamba Dieng replacing Pape Gueye and Diedhiou, respectively.
Kouyate produced a super-sub moment by scoring Senegal's second goal after taking advantage of Equatorial Guinea's defensive blunder.
In the 79th minute, Ciss turned provider for his side's third goal following a fine ball control and he played the ball into Sarr's path to tuck away.
The late goal put the game beyond the reach of Equatorial Guinea and it sealed Senegal's semi-final date with Burkina Faso on Wednesday.