African champions Senegal advanced to the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup after edging Ecuador 2-1 in the final Group A encounter at Khalifa International Stadium.
La Tri talisman Enner Valencia shrugged off a niggling knee injury to start while Ismaila Sarr made his 50th appearance for the Lions of Teranga, alongside Boulaye Dia and Iliman Ndiaye, who got his first appearance at the tournament, in a front three.
The game was open from the off, with the sides going all out to get an early advantage.
However, Senegal gained more momentum going forward as the first stanza progressed and they were eventually awarded a penalty on the stroke of half-time after Piero Hincapie clattered into Sarr in the box.
The Watford striker stepped up himself and broke the deadlock for Aliou Cisse's charges with a low side-footed shot that left goalkeeper Hernan Galindez flat-footed.
Ecuador showed more urgency coming from the break and Moises Caicedo eventually levelled matters on 68 minutes with a close-range range finish at the back post after a flick on by Felix Torres from a corner.
However, Senegal responded almost immediately thereafter, as Kalidou Koulibaly restored their lead with a thumping volley from a rebound in the box.
The Lions of Teranga had chances on counter-attacks to kill off the game but they held their nerve in the dying minutes to secure a spot in the last 16 as runners-up in the group, one point behind the Dutch.
Netherlands booked their spot in the knockout stages after a comfortable 2-0 victory over eliminated hosts Qatar in the final Group A game at Al Bayt Stadium.
After recovering from a hamstring injury, Dutch forward Memphis Depay was handed his first start of the tournament alongside Cody Gakpo upfront while Steven Bergwijn dropped to the bench.
Louis van Gaal's men took time to get going but as soon as they got into their stride midway through the first stanza, Gakpo gave them the lead and notched up his third goal in the tournament with a low arrowed shot in the box after a through ball by Davy Klaassen.
The Oranje had a perfect start in the second stanza as Frenkie de Jong doubled their lead just four minutes from the restart with a close-range strike from the rebound after goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham parried Depay's initial shot.
Netherlands had a goal scored by Steven Berghuis on 68 minutes disallowed by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for a handball in the build up, as the Oranje finished top of the section with seven points.
Qatar became the first host nation to lose all their group games.
You must be SIGNED IN to read and post comments.
Click here to register: https://www.snl24.com/auth/signin