(Photo/NYC Senegal)

By Tyler Strauss 

The first match on Field 70 in the second day of 2015 Cosmos Copa's group stage took place between NYC Senegal and NYC Kosovo. The winner would move on to the Round of 16 and the loser wouldn’t make it through, so the game had a playoff feel to it.
Senegal had the first opportunity early on, with a low cross into the box. The ball was cleared for a corner kick. The goalkeeper was quick off of his line to claim the cross.
Senegal had another opportunity on a breakaway but was unable to convert and Kosovo moved out of the back with a goal kick. The Senegalese looked the more threatening of the two teams in the first half.
About midway through, they had a strong opportunity to score on a free kick. After the initial shot went off the post, the rebound was headed into the goal. However, the ref controversially judged the play to be offsides. They continued to threaten, putting their next opportunity off of a cross just wide.
Senegal then looked to counter off of Kosovo possession. The through ball was a good one and the following cross went just beyond the extended dive of the Senegal forward. The score stayed level at 0-0.
Kosovo earned a corner kick towards the end of the second half, but the Senegal goalkeeper made a comfortable save, coming in to claim the kick.
NYC Senegal struck before the half when a lofted ball over the top finds Abdoulaye. He chipped the charging keeper, putting his side on top. 1-0 Senegal.
“To win a game like this, the strikers have to score,” Abdoulaye told “We had to be mentally prepared, and scoring the first goal was important.”
Senegal doubled their lead through their midfielder, N’sougan. The through ball found him pacing ahead of the Kosovo backline, and he fired his shot low into the right corner of the net.
The score was 2-0 at halftime.
The second half began much like the first with Senegal looking much more threatening. They had several chances early on, but no shots on goal to test the goalkeeper.
Senegal was denied a second goal, with the referee again whistling offsides. The score remained 2-0.
Midway through the second half Senegal scored their third goal. N’sougan nabbed his second goal of the day as he slotted it home.
Overall, Senegal earned its place in the Round of 16 with two wins and a loss as the second seed in the group.
“The team that lost to Greece is not NYC Senegal,” the Senegal coach told “Today we looked much more like ourselves. We played better, with more discipline. In the next round, we’d like to knock the ball around more, and look to finish more of our chances.”