Mane scores winner: A Sadio Mane penalty just seven minutes into the added time allowed a sluggish Senegal to
defeat Zimbabwe 1-1 at the Africa Cup of Nations Group B opener.
The defeat was brutal on Zimbabwe, who made one of the tournament’s favorites appear a
bit normal at Bafoussam.
In the fourth minute of the stoppage, Kelvin Madzongwe was found to have acted in a
manner that turned his back to the Pape Gueye strike.
Liverpool Forward Mane hit the ball into the goal to provide Senegal the ideal kickoff.
With a side cut from several players such as Captain Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy
Due to Covid, The Senegalese were previously missing many opportunities.
The most impressive goal went on midfielder Gana Gueye just after half-time, but Gana
Gueye could not control his ball.
Paris St-Germain star could not stop a straightforward strike from Mane as the goal was I
Mane was stopped earlier in the game after he shot straight at Zimbabwe goalkeeper
Petros Mhari after sliding into the space inside the middle of the field.
Depleted Senegal displeases
Senegal entered this tournament to win their historic Nations Cup crown after losing the
final in 2019 to Algeria.
Still, they did not perform to their best after naming 17 players from 28 players due to a
mixture of cases of Covid and injury.
Bayern Munich defender Bouna Sarr smashed a shot inches wide for the first time before
Keita Balde could also not reach the target.
On the opposing side, Zimbabwe captain Knowledge Musona released a shot from 20 yards
only to watch his precise strike go past the goalpost as his team tried to make it through
the knock-out stage got close in the first instance.
After halfway, Pape Cisse spurned a fantastic opportunity to end the deadlock but could
only guide his free header from a corner and firmly over the goal with Mhari trapped.
In the end, Senegal – Africa’s top-ranked team for the past three years – did not perform
well against a well-organized Zimbabwe team who did not show any adverse effects due to
the uncertainty around their participation in the semi-finals.
As we approached the tournament, the prospect of a suspension by Fifa, the world’s
governing body for football, was in the air because an official-mandated body was able to
take over the control of the local FA was in direct conflict with Fifa rules.
They were just seconds away from keeping their clean sheet in the Nations Cup, at the
13th attempt, only for it to be disqualified after official Mario Escobar pointed to the spot
and an assistant video referee supported his decision on the field.