Senegalese fans in Dakar were in a somber mood Friday night after their team lost 1-0 to Algeria in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations final in Egypt.
The crowd that gathered at public squares across Dakar earlier in the day disappeared shortly after the final whistle of the nerve-wracking match which was dominated by Senegal. Some disappointed fans were seen crying, while others consoled them.
The Teranga Lions, making their second appearance in the AFCON final since 2002, were hoping to clinch their first continental trophy. Ahead of Friday’s match, many Senegalese were hopeful the trophy was coming home.
“I still can’t believe that we didn’t win the trophy,” said Ibra Sene. “We had all the decent chances during the first half to finish the game, but we failed to capitalise on them. I am so sad right now. I don’t even know what to do.”
Another fan Ousmane Bitteye blamed striker Mbye Niang for Senegal’s loss. “He missed all our best chances. I feel bad right now because I was expecting the trophy to come home.”
For Babacarr Dieng, the suspension of Kalidou Koulibaly, one of Africa’s finest defenders, contributed to the loss. “It was clear to all that Kalidou’s absence cost of this trophy. He could have prevented the goalkeeper from stepping out of his box for the goal we conceded,” Dieng told The Chronicle.
However, not every fan was convinced Senegal deserved a win in the ill-tempered match. “We have to be honest to ourselves. Algeria was the better side and they won. That’s it. Yes, Senegal did well and created so many chances, but they failed to make the best use of them. It’s sad but we have to accept that we lost to a better side and move on,” said Moussa Ndiaye.
Baghdad Bounedjah’s early goal propelled Algeria to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in 29 years after a fiery 1-0 victory over Sadio Mane’s Senegal in Friday’s final in Cairo.
Baghdad Bounedjah put Algeria ahead in the second minute when his deflected shot looped over Senegal goalkeeper Alfred Gomis. That was enough for Algeria to clinch their first AFCON trophy in 29 years.