East Africa

Mane steps up as Teranga Lions close in on maiden Afcon title


Summary

  • Despite the Stallions of Burkina Faso pulling one back through Ibrahim Toure, it was the skillful Mane who restored Senegal’s two-goal cushion
  • Among European-based stars at Afcon, Mane’s big influence in matches involving Senegal is only comparable to Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah’s influence on Egypt
  • Mane added that their victory over Burkina Faso in the semi-finals shows the momentum they have and he now wants to see Senegal go all the way and carry the coveted trophy to Dakar come Sunday
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By NDI EUGENE NDI


In Yaoundé,

Liverpool star, Sadio Mane found his scoring touch, assisting and netting in Senegal’s 3-1 victory over Burkina Faso in Yaoundé on Wednesday to power the Teranga Lions to their second straight Africa Cup of Nations final.

During the game that remained goalless until the 71st minute, Mane put up an incredible performance, assisting both Idrissa Gueye and Abdou Diallo’s goals.

Despite the Stallions of Burkina Faso pulling one back through Ibrahim Toure, it was the skillful Mane who restored Senegal’s two-goal cushion and ensured they remain on course for a maiden continental crown which they came close to clinching last year but fell to Algeria in the final.

Among European-based stars at Afcon, Mane’s big influence in matches involving Senegal is only comparable to Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah’s influence on Egypt. Both have led from the front, always rising to the occasion when required. 

However, Mane went ahead of all the stars at Africa’s premier nations competition, particularly with his commanding influence and goal in the semis against Burkina Faso, though the Liverpool star admits it did not come on a silver platter. 

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“We knew at the beginning it would not be an easy match. We expected this kind of game, we won and that’s what is important,” he said.

He added that their victory over Burkina Faso in the semi-finals shows the momentum they have and he now wants to see Senegal go all the way and carry the coveted trophy to Dakar come Sunday.

“It is tough facing a team like Burkina Faso in the semi-final of the Africa Cup of Nations,” Mane said after receiving man of the match award. He now hopes that they win the final this time around, “whoever we come up against.” 

Mane has been important to the Teranga Lions since the beginning of their campaign, scoring Senegal’s lone goal in the group stages before netting the winner against Burkina Faso.

He scored his second goal during Senegal’s 2-0 victory over Cape Verde in the round of 16 fixture during which he had a clash of heads with goalkeeper Vozinha. 

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