• Senegal becomes first African side to qualify from the group stages after their 2-1 win over Ecuador.
• Netherlands also defeated a desperately poor Qatar team with a 2-0 win to progress
The African champions put themselves in a right position to join Netherlands to qualify from Group A after taking command of their final group game against Ecuador.
Ismaila Sarr’s penalty just before the interval gave the Lions of Teranga a deserved lead which lifted them above their opponents into second place behind group leaders Netherlands.
Needing a win to progress to the Round of 16, barring an unlikely Qatar victory over the Dutch, the African champions were initially frustrated by a series of missed chances.
Idrissa Gueye sliced an early effort wide of the right post before Boulaye Dia dragged his shot wide of the far post.
Iliman Ndiaye also curled an effort wide before Ecuador defender Piero Hincapie bundled over Sarr in the box and the Watford striker picked himself up to calmly convert the penalty.
A draw would see Ecuador, who won their first match against Qatar before drawing 1-1 with the Netherlands 1-1, progress for only the second time in their World Cup history.
However, they found themselves progressing when Moises Caicedo struck to restore parity in the 68th minute but their goal lasted for only two minutes as Kalidou Koulibaly responded quickly to retake the lead in the 70th minute.
It was another set-piece goal as Ecuador failed to properly clear a dangerous, diagonal free kick from Idrissa Gueye and Chelsea man Koulibaly meets the loose ball with a powerful volley.
Struggling and unconvincing without Sadio Mane on the field, Senegal still played well enough to secure a spot in the next round of the World Cup.
The win gave the Teranga Lions six points from three matches, leaving Ecuador with four, while Netherlands topped the group with seven points to advance.
Goals from Cody Gakpo, who is now the joint-leading scorer in this World Cup, and Frenkie de Jong gave the Dutch their second win over a desperately poor Qatar team who finished last in the group without a single point.