Sadio Mané winner sends Senegal into AFCON 2021

CAIRO, EGYPT - JULY 10: Sadio Mane of Senegal during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final match between Senegal and Benin at 30th June Stadium on July 10, 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. (Photo by Visionhaus)
FILE PHOTO: Sadio Mane of Senegal in action for Senegal. (Photo by Visionhaus)

Senegal became the first country to qualify for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations after recording a fourth win in four games in their qualifiers.

The 2019 finalists defeated 10-man Guinea Bissau 1-0 at the Estádio 24 de Setembro in Bissau on Sunday with Liverpool forward Sadio Mané netting the all-important goal.

Mané exchanged passes with Habib Diallo before squeezing the ball past Guinea-Bissau goalkeeper Jonas Mendes eight minutes before the end of normal time.

The goal was Mané’s 21st for the Lions of Teranga meaning he is only eight behind the national record of 29 set by Henri Camara.

He could have had two but he failed to score in the first half with an open goal at his mercy. Mané also scored in the 2-0 win against the same opponents in Thiès on Wednesday.

Senegal tops Group I with 12 points, five ahead of second placed Congo while Guinea Bissau has three points and eSwatini has one.

Senegal joins Cameroon, who qualified by virtue of being hosts, in the tournament which was rescheduled to be played in 2022 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Elsewhere, veteran striker Saidi Ntibazonkiza scored twice as Burundi defeated Mauritania 3-1 to climb off the foot of the table of Group E.

Mané’s Liverpool teammate Naby Keita scored for Guinea who drew 1-1 with 10-man Chad, who got their first point. Guinea has eight points in Group A, one ahead of Mali and five ahead of Namibia in third.

Kenya suffered its first defeat in qualifying after going down 2-1 to Comoros in Moroni. Goals from Ben El Fardou and Faiz Mattoir either side of Cliff Nyateya’s equalizer sent the island nation top of Group G on eight points. Kenya lies third on three points.

Iban Salvador’s strike gave Equatorial Guinea a 1-0 win against Libya, just days after their stunning 3-2 win over the same opponents. The win sent Equatorial Guinea second on six points in Group J while Libya lies third on three points.

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