Senegal win African derby and bow out in style

11 Dec. 2023

Senegal win African derby and bow out in style

For both African teams, it was the last match at the 26th IHF Women’s World Championship. And it was Senegal which finished the tournament on a high, making a strong comeback against Cameroon in the second half, to take a 22:20 win. 

Main round
Group I
Cameroon vs Senegal 20:22 (12:7)

It was Senegal’s first victory in the main round, and it allowed the team to stay fifth in Group I with three points. In turn, Cameroon suffered their third consecutive defeat and finished bottom of the group with no points. 

Senegal has probably made a better impression overall in the tournament, but in the main round, they failed to show the same power and energy as at the previous stage of the competition. And although Yacine Messaoudi’s team opened an early 2:0 lead on Monday, it did not take long for Cameroon to hit back.

While the teams were still level at 7:7 in the 21th minute, Senegal failed to score a single goal in the remaining time of the first half. Powered by superb defense and Isabelle Mben’s 54% save efficiency before the break, Cameroon used a 5:0 run to establish a 12:7 lead at the interval. 

But after the restart, Senegal’s goalkeeper Justicia Toubissa also rose to prominence, denying Cameroon a goal for nearly 10 minutes. And although Mben continued to make saves as well, her team gave up their lead, as Senegal, whose defence improved a lot, drew level at 13:13 and then went in front 14:13 following Soukeina Sagna’s two goals.

Sagna found her rhythm in the second half, scoring from both penalty shots and the open play, and six goals in this match increased her overall tally at the tournament to 40 goals. Besides, she made five assists, which helped Senegal to a three-goal lead, 19:16. 

Cameroon did not give up and cut the deficit to just one goal. 20:21, with two minutes to go, but Senegal held their nerve. And although Mben saved Sagna’s penalty shot 17 seconds from full time, making her 13th save of the day, it was too late for her team. 

Cameroon finished on the 24th place, while Senegal are on the 18th place in the final standings, thank to their draw against Croatia, who saw them seal more points than Austria and Argentina at the end of the main round.

hummel Player of the Match: Soukeina Sagna (Senegal)