Senegal overwhelm Azzurri
© Foto-net

Senegal were already through to the quarter-finals but they made sure of first place in Group C by overcoming Italy 6-5 in extra time. The Azzurri now need Japan to beat Uruguay if they are to progress

20 seconds was all it took for Paolo Palmacci to get Italy on the score-sheet, but after that, it seemed that every time Italy took the lead, Senegal would come straight back. 0-1 soon became 2-1 to the Africans after goals from Gomis Mbengue and Pape Koukpaki, the latter going top of the goal-scoring list with six. Roberto Pasquali then bagged a brace to join him at the top of the charts, but since his two goals were separated by a Badiane Mbengue strike, it was 3-3 when the hooter brought an end to the opening 12 minutes.

In the second period, goals from Damiano Maiorano and Simone Feudi gave Italy some much needed breathing space while Daniele Gigli was performing miracles on his goal-line, particularly from two dangerous Koukpaki headers. He had no chance with Gomis Mbengue's rocket into the top corner, however, which pulled Senegal back to within one goal of the Italians for the start of the third period.

The final third was a festival of missed chances. Goalkeepers, woodwork and plain clumsiness kept the ball out of the back of the net until Modou Thioune notched the equaliser from a corner, sending the two teams into extra time and ensuring first place in the group for Senegal even if they lost the match.

This was not the case, though, as Koukpaki notched his second to secure the points. Italy are now dependent on a Japanese victory over Uruguay if they are to stay in the competition.