Sadio Mane of Liverpool saves Senegal’s blushes with a dramatic 97th-minute winner at AFCON.

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Sadio Mane of Liverpool saves Senegal’s blushes with a dramatic 97th-minute winner at the AFCON.

Senegal’s 97th-minute winner was scored by Sadio Mane, a Liverpool striker.

Senegal’s blushes were spared when Liverpool forward Sadio Mane scored a penalty seven minutes into stoppage time in their African Cup of Nations opener against Zimbabwe on Monday.

Senegal had been held to a scoreless draw until Mane scored the game’s lone goal.

Kelvin Madzongwe was adjudged to have handled the ball after diving in to block a late attempt, and Senegal were awarded the spot kick in the dying seconds.

And Mane remained composed as he thumped his effort into the left corner, fooling goalkeeper Petros Mhari.

Senegal, managed by Aliou Cisse of Birmingham City and Portsmouth, were dealt a double blow ahead of the match when Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly tested positive for Covid.

As their tournament got underway, they were forced to work hard for the three points against a tenacious Zimbabwe side.

Bouna Sarr’s long-range effort narrowly missed the near post, giving the Teranga Lions the lead in the first two minutes.

Mane then had the best chance of the first half, advancing with the ball and rounding a Zimbabwean defender before firing a tame shot straight at Mhari.

Abdou Diallo came close for Senegal in the second half, but his header from Sarr’s free-kick went over the crossbar.

Senegal were saved from a goalless draw when Mane rifled home from 12 yards.

After losing to Algeria in the 2019 AFCON final, Senegal is one of the favorites to win the trophy.

Cisse’s team has been assigned to Group B of the tournament, and will face Guinea on Friday before facing Malawi on Tuesday.

Senegal’s victory over Zimbabwe was the third match of the AFCON, which began on Sunday.

Cameroon defeated Burkina Faso 2-1 in the tournament opener, before Cape Verde defeated Ethiopia 1-0 in the second round.

Mohamed Salah, Mane’s Liverpool teammate, and Naby Keita are both competing in the tournament.

Riyad Mahrez of Manchester City and Said Benrahma of West Ham United will both play for Algeria.

Arsenal has five players in the competition.

“Brinkwire News Summary.”

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