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We anticipated tough game with Benin, says Aliou Cisse

Cairo, Thursday @PeopleSports11

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said they were not surprised by the performance of Benin in the quarter-final of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations on Wednesday night.

Idrissa Gueye’s solitary effort handed the Teranga Lions a hard-fought 1-0 victory over the Squirrels as they secured their place in the semi-final of the tournament for the first time in 13 years.

Prior to the defeat, Benin were unbeaten in their last four games, forcing Ghana, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau to stalemates before ousting North African giants Morocco in the Round of 16.

“We’re very happy with this victory. It’s true we had the possibility to score. They were a difficult team,” Cisse said.

“Don’t forget, Cameroon didn’t beat them, neither Morocco nor Ghana, so we were waiting for a difficult, complicated game.“We had chances, they’re a team that gave up nothing. We knew it would be a tight score, maybe 1-0, maybe extra time.

“To play against a team who know exactly what they must do, it’s hard. I must congratulate my players.”

On Sunday, 2002 runners-up Senegal will face giant killers Madagascar or under-performing Tunisia in a semi-final in the Egyptian capital.

“We were expecting a complicated match and my players did not give up because they have a good mentality, were patient and respected instructions,” he said.

“At this stage of the tournament, anyone can beat anyone. We came here with the ambition of playing seven matches, and we will play them. We want to play in the final.”

Benin coach Michel Dussuyer said: “I want to congratulate my players for the way they handle difficult challenges.

“The boys must be proud. They made the people of Benin proud. With this squad, we have advanced. Of course, there is disappointment, but the players can hold their heads high.”

Cisse made one change to the team that defeated Uganda to reach the last-eight stage with Keita Balde replacing fellow forward Ismaila Sarr.    – AFP

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