Sadio Mane fires Senegal into Africa Cup of Nations final


Sadio Mane’s 87th-minute goal ensured Senegal’s place in the Africa Cup of Nations final as they survived a late Burkina Faso fight-back to win 3-1.

It was a nervy first half which saw tournament favourites Senegal – who have never won AFCON – have two penalty decisions overturned following VAR intervention, with Burkina Faso losing goalkeeper Herve Koffi to injury after the first incident.

Paris Saint-Germain’s Abdou Diallo broke the deadlock for Senegal on 70 minutes with a smart turn and finish after centre-back partner Kalidou Koulibaly’s bicycle kick turned an out swinging corner back towards goal.

Six minutes later, Senegal looked to be in cruise control when Idrissa Gueye doubled their lead after Mane won the ball back in a dangerous area and pulled it back for the PSG midfielder.

Despite appearing to be out of energy and ideas, Burkina Faso sprung back into life after a double change and pulled one back as Blati Toure’s improvised finish with his knee sailed past Edouard Mendy in the Senegal goal.

But Mane made sure of the win with three minutes to go as he was put through on goal and lofted the ball over the Burkina Faso substitute goalkeeper Farid Ouedraogo.

“We knew it would not be easy, it was a semi-final of the Cup of Nations after all,” said Mane. “And we were up against a good Burkina Faso team who gave us a lot of problems.

“We were calm and we took our opportunities and I think we deserved this victory.”

Liverpool forward Mane has now equalled Senegal’s goalscoring record, matching Henri Camara’s tally of 29.

Senegal are back in the final of the Africa Cup of Nations, but they will be looking to go one step further than they did in the tournament’s previous instalment, when they were beaten 1-0 by Algeria in 2019 in Egypt.

Head coach Aliou Cisse was part of the Senegal team that reached the country’s first AFCON final in 2002 – they lost to Cameroon in a penalty shoot-out in which he missed a spot-kick.

Senegal will now face either Cameroon or Egypt in Sunday’s final at 7pm.

Meanwhile, Burkina Faso will face the loser of Thursday’s semi-final in Saturday’s third-fourth-place play-off, which also kicks off at 7pm.




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