Mane leaves it late against Rwanda

By Oviri Kelvin

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane rescued the 2022 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) champions against Rwanda to secure three points after he netted a 98th-minute penalty to maintain the flying start of the Teranga Lions in the 2023 AFCON qualifier.

Mane, who became the highest goal scorer for his country after he scored a hat-trick against Benin Republic on Saturday, settled a mousy encounter in the Senegalese capital Dakar when holding his nerve to drill home and finally break Rwanda’s resistance.

According to stats, this is the second time in 2022 the Senegalese captain, highly courted by Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich, has scored a spot-kick almost close to stoppage time, after his late-minute winner against Zimbabwe in their opening 2021 AFCON game in Cameroon.

The Teranga Lions captain, whose penalty secured the first AFCON title for Senegal in the finals against Egypt, is enjoying a memorable spell after netting a hat-trick in Saturday’s win over Benin to become the Teranga Lions’ record goalscorer.

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Despite playing in Dakar in what was actually a nominal home tie for Rwanda, the Nations Cup winners – Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, Napoli’s Kalidou Koulibaly and PSG’s Idrissa Gueye among them – struggled for form, British Sports media reported.

Senegal have played their opening two qualifiers at home, with Rwanda reversing Tuesday’s match to enable them to continue renovations on their Amahoro Stadium in Kigali.

The Teranga Lions are five points clear in Group L after just two games, but Benin and Mozambique – who have played just once – meet on Wednesday.

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