Senegal U20 – Match report vs Nigeria U20 (19/02/2023)

In the second match of the U20 AFCON, the record champion took on talented Senegal. An interesting match as the 2 countries managed to put African football on the map in recent years. In this showdown, I focused on Malick Daf’s 11. He sent sense team into a 4-2-3-1 on the pitch, with backs often trying to overlap. 

There were quite a few shots on both sides, but little danger came from them. Five minutes before half-time, the first goal of the tournament fell. A swift counter through Samba Diallo eventually proved enough for victory.


  • A1 – Very good, could play higher
  • A2 – Strong potential to play higher
  • B1 – Good, strong player at level
  • B2 – Potential to be a strong player at level
  • C – Average for the level, rewatch
  • D – Below average, don’t follow up

Pape Diop

  • Nationality: Senegalese
  • Age: 19
  • Date of birth: 04/09/2003
  • Current club: SV Zulte Waregem
  • Career: Diambars FC
  • Position: Central Midfielder
  • Secondary position: Defensive Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

Pape Diop started this match as 2nd striker/attacking midfielder. His job was to support deep striker Souleymane Faye. It was clear that this role fit his profile well. With an average height (1m82) and a normal build, he does not stand out in that respect. He has good speed and the necessary athletic ability. He has been playing in the Belgian competition since September for SV Zulte Waregem, a good league for his development.

The young Senegalese was important for the away side this match, at 1-0 he managed to force the keeper into a save through good positional play. His effort was stopped but the rebound went in through Faye. Exactly that positional play you see in this phase is 1 of Diop’s strongest qualities. Besides being important in attacking play, you often saw him in defensive situations as well. He has the necessary insight to read a situation, but in some phases lacks the defensive precision to make the right interception. He catches that well with his perseverance, though.

The attacking midfielder’s switching ability is very important in the Senegal U20s system. When he gets the ball, you immediately see the attacking running lines. The flank players dive into space, which is often followed by a good pass from Diop. But also, the other way round, when a team-mate comes to the ball hi jook always looks for space or hooks off well. Good passing is needed in this situation e nook that is no problem.

Rating – B2

Last summer, Pape Diop managed to make the move to SV Zulte Waregem. The Belgian competitive seems the right step for his development. He got some chances with the A-core and often plays with the u23. His most striking qualities are his positioning, passing, and finishing. So a very interesting profile for an attacking midfielder or second striker.


Samba Diallo

  • Nationality: Senegalese
  • Age: 20
  • Date of birth: 05/01/2003
  • Current club: Dynamo Kyiv
  • Career: AF Darou Salam, Dynamo Kyiv (Y)
  • Position: Left Winger
  • Secondary position: Right Winger, Attacking Midfielder
  • Preferred foot: Right

When we think of players to keep an eye on, Samba Diallo is 1 of them. In July 2021, he was brought to Europe by Dynamo Kyiv. He started with the u19 but in the meantime got chances in the Europa League. The creative flanker started this match on the left side.

In a strong match that earned him the MOTM award after the match, Diallo showed his strong ball handling on several occasions. The combination of his strong technique and infiltration ability into the opponent 16 was a very big problem for Nigeria. It was clear that he was often sought after. With his constant attacking threat, it makes sense. He shows the guts to spleen with both feet, another thing that makes him dangerous when the ball is on the ground. 

Diallo often seeks the action from the duel. He looks for physical contact and then makes the acceleration. His speed ensures that his direct opponent has huge problems following him. As already mentioned, he is a crucial playmaker in attacking terms, but also in conversion. We see the perfect example with the 1-0. An unsuccessful free-kick by the Nigerians ends up with Diallo, his speed and good running action soon get him into the 16. There he maintains composure on the bale n plays a fellow player that runs well clear. This a phase where a lot of Diallo’s qualities come to the fore thus.

At 1m68, Diallo was the smallest of the Senegalese today. You can also see that in several duels, he often lacks the length to be incisive in the air. In terms of physical build, he often has an advantage though, he has a muscular physique that comes out well in duels. His height is well compensated by his mentality, though. He is not just the captain, but he is the real leader. He has natural leadership qualities and takes the team forward. You can also see his strong mentality in his game, he is not afraid to make the action or go for his success.

Rating – B1

There will be increasing interest in Diallo after the AFCON u20. Even though he is only recently in Europe his performances will not go unnoticed. He has everything a modern winger needs.


Pape Diallo

  • Nationality: Senegalese
  • Age: 18
  • Date of birth: 25/06/2004
  • Current club: FC Metz B
  • Career: Génération Foot
  • Position: Right Winger
  • Secondary position: Left Winger, Centre-Forward
  • Preferred foot: Right

Pape Diallo was the right wing for Senegal in this match. He played a strong first half but was hammered to the side in the 67th minute. Diallo is one of the players from the Senegal team playing in Europe. He completed his transfer to FC Metz on 10 February. Before that, he played at the well-known Génération Foot, in his own country. Back in February, he featured in the African Nations Championship.

The right-footed wing possesses the typical profile of a modern wing. The first thing that stands out is his strong technique. He possesses the necessary ball handling and guts for an action. In this match too, you saw that he is not afraid to take on a 1-on-1. In addition, he also brings calmness to the ball. He dares to claim the ball and make the necessary tempo moves. A final attacking quality that stands out is his infiltration ability. When in possession, he often thinks of the action that brings immediate danger. A strong quality from his position. He plays well in the duel.

Defensively, Diallo still needs to improve on some aspects. Even though he often helps well on the high defensive line, he lacks defensive qualities. You often see that he has little desire to chase through or run back a lot. 

With a normal body build and height of 1m82, Diallo does not stand out physically. For a wing, his height is on the slightly higher side, nevertheless, he shows very strong ball handling and speed. Defensively, he often forgets to use his physical build well. 

Rating – B2

The recent move to FC Metz seems like a good one. Stepping inside the top-five league seems perfect for his development. Even though he still lacks physical abandon and qualities, his profile fits within contemporary football. Quick, good ball handling, scans the game… everything he needs is there, now the task is to develop those skills.



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