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Football

Moriba sends Guinea to Olympics 2024

GUINEA

Guinea booked their place at the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Paris after Ilaix Moriba’s penalty sealed a 1-0 play-off victory over Indonesia on Thursday.

The midfielder’s first-half strike from 12 yards proved the difference at Clairefontaine as the Syli Nationale secured qualification for just their second Olympic Games.

With the 16-team line-up for this summer’s event now complete, Guinea have been drawn in a daunting Group A alongside hosts France, USA and New Zealand.

The decisive moment came on the half-hour mark when Algassime Bah was brought down in the box by Indonesia’s Witan Sulaeman after a rapid Guinea counter-attack.

Moriba made no mistake from the resulting spot-kick, lashing the ball beyond the reach of the Indonesian goalkeeper to put the African side ahead.

Guinea had opportunities to extend their lead, with Mohamed Soumah’s close-range effort hacked off the line shortly after the restart.

But Indonesia rallied and went agonisingly close to an equaliser on the hour, substitute Alfeandra Dewangga’s glancing header drifting just wide.

Dewangga was soon at the centre of the action again, conceding a penalty after fouling Bah in the box – an award that prompted angry protests from the Indonesian bench and saw coach Shin Tae-yong dismissed.

After a lengthy delay, Bah took responsibility from 12 yards himself but could only strike the upright as Guinea missed the chance to put the result beyond doubt.

Indonesia pushed for a late leveller but Guinea’s defence stood firm to seal their historic place at Paris 2024 – 56 years after their Olympic debut in 1968.

The hard work starts now for the West Africans as they prepare to take on the might of France, USA and New Zealand in a daunting group stage.

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