Sports

Senegal fair play exit creates unwanted history for African teams

Senegal fair play exit creates unwanted history for African teams

Cisse's side were knocked out on fair play rules having had more yellow cards (six) than Japan, who received four in three games.

Senegal were the last African nation to be eliminated from Russian Federation 2018 on Thursday, missing out on a place in Group H's top two to Japan due to an inferior fair play record.

Colombia defeated Senegal 1-0 to advance to the World Cup round of 16 as Group H winners in a result that sent the African side out of the competition on the fair play ranking.

Colombia settled for their one-goal lead and, despite growing increasingly desperate and frantic in the closing minutes, Senegal could not force in an equaliser to keep them in the World Cup, their fair play record giving them an unwanted piece of history.

Facing already eliminated Poland, Japan manager Akira Nishino made six changes for their match, which included all four of their previous goalscorers at the tournament being left on the bench. He beat his marker at the far post and volleyed in a swerving free kick from Rafal Kurzawa.

Senegal had a first-half penalty ruled out following a VAR review, while Colombia's key man James Rodriguez was substituted before the break and could be a doubt for the knockout rounds. Senegal became the first team ever eliminated by a new tiebreaker - number of yellow cards.

M'Baye Niang was the only Senegal player cautioned in a decisive 1-0 defeat to Colombia in Samara, where Barcelona defender Yerry Mina headed the south Americans' victor on 77 minutes.

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The victor of Group G, which will be decided in Thursday's match between England and Belgium, will face a Japan side who scraped through on fair play.

Colombia is the only team in Russian Federation to lose its opener - 2-1 to Japan - and make it to the round of 16. He started in the second game, a 3-0 victory over Poland. Teammate Radamel Falcao patted him on the back sympathetically as he headed to the sideline.

Mina, who is 6-foot-5, leapt above a pair of Senegalese defenders to head the ball hard off the ground and off Senegal goalkeeper Khadim Ndiaye's hand, sending the enthusiastic Colombian fans at Samara Stadium into a frenzy.

Mina rose highest in the box to power home his header pass Ndiaye in goal for Senegal.

Senegal threw everything at their opponent but could not get the much needed equalizer to propel them into the round of 16 as they crashed of the tournament.

Colombia's fans cheer prior to their Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group H match against Senegal at the Samara Arena in Samara on June 28, 2018.

"I don't know if the regulation is cruel or not, but I can't ask my players to go on the pitch in order to avoid yellow cards", Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said.