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Tie Earns the Senegalese a Trip to Round of 16

June 12, 2002|Grahame L. Jones

Senegal, the West African nation that contributed to France's World Cup downfall by beating it in the opening game of Korea/Japan '02, is going to the second round.

Coach Bruno Metsu's "Lions of Teranga" clinched their place in the final 16 Tuesday with a dramatic 3-3 tie against Uruguay in front of 33,681 in Suwon, South Korea.

No clearer example of the "game of two halves" cliche could be found than this bruising encounter between Africa and South America, an encounter that prompted Dutch referee Jan Wegereef to whistle 43 fouls and issue 12 yellow cards.

The Senegalese dominated the first 45 minutes, building a 3-0 lead on goals by midfielder Khalilou Fadiga, on a penalty kick in the 20th minute, and forward Papa Boupa Diop in the 26th and 38th minutes.

That should have been enough to finish off Uruguay, but the two-time world champion stormed back in the second half to tie the score and almost snatch a victory.

Ricardo Morales cut the deficit to 3-1 with a goal one minute after the break; Diego Forlan made it 3-2 in the 69th minute, and Alvaro Recoba scored on a penalty kick two minutes from the end to leave Senegalese nerves in tatters. But the Africans held on, if barely.

"We showed the world that Senegal is a very small country but we are a very big people," Fadiga said.

"I think this is really an extraordinary success," Senegal Coach Bruno Metsu said. "It was engrossing, moving, difficult [match] and it was a fantastic spectacle."

The result and resulting disappointment was enough to cause Uruguay Coach Victor Pua to resign immediately after the match.

"With this match, an era ends," Pua said. "It's my decision."

Neither team was happy with the penalty kicks awarded by Wegereef in the bruising, no-holds-barred match. Uruguay's tying goal especially was tinged with controversy.

Replays showed Morales falling in the penalty area before Senegal defender Habib Beye moved to tackle him. But Wegereef failed to spot the dive and whistled Beye for a foul.

"I did not touch him," Beye said in disbelief.

Similarly, Uruguay protested loudly that goalkeeper Fabian Carini had made no contact with Senegal striker El Hadji Diouf when Diouf tumbled to the turf in the 20th-minute incident that led to Fadiga's goal off the resulting penalty kick.

The only downbeat note for Senegal, meanwhile, was the second yellow card picked up by Fadiga, which means he will miss the second-round game against either Argentina, England or Sweden.

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