Liverpool star Sadio Mane converted a penalty deep in added time to snatch a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in the African Cup of Nations Group B opener on Monday in Bafoussam.
Zimbabwe defender Kelvin Madzongwe was penalised for blocking a shot with his hand in the area in a heartbreaking turn of events for his side as they were on the verge of causing the first upset of the tournament.
Senegal who are Africa’s top-ranked team, had only 18 players available for their opening group match because of coronavirus and injury and despite a lion’s share of possession and opportunities produced a tepid performance.
The Teranga Lions were without their captain Kalidou Koulibaly after the Napoli central defender tested positive for coronavirus and Chelsea goalkeeper Mendy, was also ruled out with Queens Park Rangers star Seny Dieng taking up the responsibility of manning the post.
The Warriors had given a good account of themselves as they held the 2019 runners up for almost the whole match.
In the absence of Koulibaly, Paris Saint-Germain midfielder, Idrissa Gana Gueye was handed the skipper armband and almost fired the Lions in front in the first 45 minutes but goalkeeper Petros Mhari made a crucial save to keep the game level.
With the win, Alou Cisse’s men sits top of Group B while Guinea takes on Malawi in the other group fixture.