CAIRO (AP) — Senegal is the first team through to the semifinals and is a step closer to its first title at the African Cup of Nations after beating Benin 1-0 on Wednesday.
Sadio Mane had two goals ruled out for offside in a frantic second half as the VAR video review system was used for the first time at the African Cup.
But in between the disallowed goals, Idrissa Gueye scored in the 70th minute for the winner. Gueye made a surging run from deep and was played in by a deft touch from Mane. Gueye swept his shot past Benin goalkeeper Owolabi Kassifa to seal it.
Senegal suddenly turned on the pressure in the second half at Cairo’s 30 June Stadium.
Mane’s header from a free kick shortly after halftime was ruled offside after Algerian referee Mustapha Ghorbal briefly consulted VAR through his headset.
The Liverpool forward also broke clear and scored straight after Gueye’s goal but was adjudged offside again after another review by Ghorbal through his headset.
Both decisions were correct, although the second disallowed goal was very tight. The referee didn’t need to go to the sidelines to check the TV screen on either occasion.
Mane was the catalyst for Senegal’s strong second-half play.
As well as his two disallowed efforts, he missed out when 1-on-1 with Kassifa, who made the save. Senegal had a series of chances in a few crazy minutes after the goal.
Benin then had defender Olivier Verdon sent off late in the match for a foul on Gueye on the edge of the penalty area when Gueye was again clear through.
Senegal will play Madagascar or Tunisia in the semifinals as it aims to finally lift the African Cup at its 16th tournament. Senegal is now the favorite for the title after host Egypt was surprisingly eliminated by South Africa in the round of 16.
South Africa plays Nigeria in the second quarterfinal later Wednesday at Cairo International Stadium.