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Senegal in search of piece of historical past in Qatar: Koulibaly

DOHA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) — Kalidou Koulibaly stated Senegal will search to “make history” as they put together for his or her first look within the FIFA World Cup knockout part since 2002.

The Chelsea defender scored the profitable purpose as Senegal booked a spot within the final 16 in Qatar with a 2-1 victory over Ecuador on Tuesday.

“Our goal when we arrived was to go beyond the first round so we can be happy, but we want to go further,” Koulibaly advised a news convention.

“We are like one big family and we want to make history together. Every game will be tough and we have to concentrate on our next game and respect our opponents.”

Koulibaly devoted Tuesday’s victory to former Senegal midfielder Papa Bouba Diop, who died in 2020, and striker Sadio Mane, who was dominated out of the event days earlier than it started due to a leg harm.

“Even though he [Mane] is not with us, we feel like he is a part of this,” the 31-year-old middle again stated. “I couldn’t believe it when I heard that he wouldn’t be playing [in Qatar]. We knew there would be more pressure on us because he is our star and our symbol. But it also made us want to show that Senegal is a team of 11 players and now is the time for other players to shine.”

Head coach Aliou Cisse, who captained the Senegal staff that reached the quarterfinals in Japan and South Korea 20 years in the past, declined to call his most popular opponents within the subsequent spherical right here.

He stated Senegal’s Africa Cup of Nations triumph in February would maintain his gamers in good stead for the pains forward.

“We don’t know who our next opponents are going to be yet,” he stated. “But we are used to these games. The Africa Cup of Nations helped us prepare. We just have to concentrate on resting and being ready for the next match.”

He added: “At this stage there is no preference over who we are going to play. It’s the World Cup round of 16 and only the best teams in the world will be competing. We need to be prepared to come up against any team.”