Blunt Senegal held by Malawi but progress to Afcon knockout stages
Heavyweights Senegal failed to fire once again and were fortunate not to concede a penalty in a 0-0 draw with unfancied Malawi on Tuesday but they still finished in top spot in Group B at the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Senegal won the group with five points, despite scoring only once in their three matches via a late Sadio Mane penalty against Zimbabwe in their opening game.
Malawi and Guinea both finished with four points but the latter took second spot on the head-to-head rule, while the Malawians must now wait to see if they are one of the four best third-placed teams, who also advance to the next round.
Malawi were left fuming when Cameroon referee Blaise Ngwa initially awarded them a late penalty at the Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam as Gomezgani Chirwa was brought down in the box by defender Bouna Sarr.
But the decision was overturned on review, though Senegal can regard themselves as fortunate as there was both a pull of the shirt and contact.
In the other match that kicked off earlier on Tuesday, already-eliminated Zimbabwe upset Guinea with a 2-1 win in Yaounde though Guinea will still advance to the last 16 as runners-up in Group B.
Captain Knowledge Musona and Kudakwashe Mahachi both scored in the first half to earn Zimbabwe a farewell win after losing their opening two matches as they finished last in the group.
Naby Keita pulled a goal back for Guinea early in the second half, but they could not find an equaliser.
The Liverpool midfielder was cautioned late in the game for dissent and, in a further blow for Guinea, he will miss their next game in the knockout phase.
Senegal finished top of the group after a goalless draw against Malawi in Bafoussam.
Malawi were level with Guinea on four points but Guinea finish second based on their head-to-head result.