Senegal advances at Ecuador's expense, Netherlands tops Group A

Ryan Pierse / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Senegal beat Ecuador to secure a berth in the World Cup knockout stage, while the Netherlands finished atop Group A with a victory over Qatar on Tuesday.

Senegal continued to persevere without injured superstar Sadio Mane, overcoming a second-half scare to beat Ecuador 2-1 and reach the World Cup knockout stage for the first time since 2002.

The African nation led for a large portion of the match after Ismaila Sarr's first-half penalty. But Ecuador roared back into the contest after Moises Caicedo scored off a corner in the 68th minute to give the South American side hope.

The Ecuador optimism was short-lived, as Kalidou Koulibaly scored less than two minutes later to restore Senegal's lead before the final whistle, sparking wild celebrations among African supporters at the Khalifa International Stadium.

Meanwhile, with Qatar already eliminated from contention heading into the final group stage game, Louis van Gaal's Dutch squad ensured a last-place finish for the host nation after red-hot Cody Gakpo and Frenkie de Jong scored to seal a comfortable 2-0 win.

Gakpo opened the scoring with his third goal in as many World Cup matches. The 23-year-old PSV winger is tied for the scoring lead in Qatar alongside France's Kylian Mbappe and Ecuador's Enner Valencia.

De Jong scored in the second half to double the lead and put the match out of reach.

The Netherlands last featured in the World Cup round of 16 eight years ago when the Van Gaal-led squad finished third in Brazil.

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Senegal advances at Ecuador's expense, Netherlands tops Group A
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