<
>
2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, Group Stage
  • Ibrahima Niane (13')
  • Cavin Diagne (15')

Senegal cruise past Saudi Arabia at FIFA Under-20 World Cup

Ibrahima Niane celebrates his goal EPA/Jeon Heon-Kyun

Early goals from Ibrahima Niane and Cavin Diagne sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory for Senegal over Saudi Arabia in their opening 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup Group F game in Incheon on Monday.

The African side never looked ruffled in a fixture they should have won by a greater margin, but will be satisfied to have secured top spot in the pool after the first round of matches as rivals Ecuador and USA played to a 3-3 draw earlier in the day.

Senegal lost to hosts Zambia in the final of the African championship in March, but are regarded as the best of the challengers from the continent and confirmed that status against the Saudis.

It took just 13 minutes for Senegal to take the lead, and it was a sparkling finish from Niane as he blasted the ball into the back of the net with a volley on the run. He galloped onto Aliou Badji's headed flick and hit the ball first time, leaving goalkeeper Mohammed Alyami with no chance.

It was 2-0 just two minutes later as the African side continued to pile on the pressure. This time Diagne struck a sweet half-volley from the edge of the box that arrowed into the bottom corner.

Badji should have got a third when his header at the back post was brilliantly saved by Alyami, though either side of the keeper and it would have been a goal.

Ibrahima Ndiaye shot across goal early in the second half after making space for himself in the box, while Badji headed wide from a superb cross by Jean Ndecky.

The intensity of the game slowed in the second period with the job done for Senegal and Saudi Arabia unable to offer much threat on their goal.

Next up for Senegal is a clash with USA on Thursday, while Saudi Arabia take on Ecuador.

Senegal finished fourth at the Under-20 World Cup in New Zealand two years ago, and on this display could feature in the latter stages of the tournament again.