05 Dec. 2023
After Cameroon and Angola had progressed from their groups on Monday, Senegal became the third African team to reach the main round at Denmark/Norway/Sweden 2023, as they beat People's Republic of China in a crucial match.
People's Republic of China vs Senegal 15:22 (9:9)
Following their impressive performances against Croatia and Sweden, Senegal were seen as favourites coming into this game, but the opening minutes were quite frustrating for them. Both sides failed to score before Xiaoqing Li broke the deadlock in the sixth minute, and China were up 2:0 when Fanta Keita finally netted for the Africans three minutes later.
However, it was the beginning of Senegal's 6:0 run, which lasted 10 minutes and turned the game on its head. Soukeina Sagna, who went on to become the top scorer of the match with eight goals, was flawless in attack, reminding of her solid performance in the previous game, while Justicia Toubissa made a few saves. The African team seemed to have the match under their control, but the pendulum swung back, and the Chinese managed to draw level before the break.
Both teams had their share of turnovers and Senegal also missed many clear chances, enabling China to come back and have the chance to take the lead before the break, but Xiaoqing Li missed the last-second penalty, hitting the post, as the two sides were deadlocked after 30 minutes, 9:9.
A lot was at stake in this game, and both sides were overwhelmed, missing many chances, trading goals until the 45th minute, when the score was still tied, 14:14. But while Senegal had run out of gas late in their both previous games, they learnt something from the mistakes.
The Africans had a big advantage in the last quarter of the game, tearing the Chinese defence apart. So a late 8:1 run helped them to win by seven goals and progress from the group for the first time in their history, after Sagna shined with eight goals on her way to the hummel Player of the Match award, as well as the top position in the goal scorer standings, with 22 goals.
At the next competition stage, Senegal will stay in Gothenburg to play in the Main Round Group I, while China will move to Frederikshavn and play in the President's Cup Group I.
hummel Player of the Match: Soukeina Sagna (Senegal)