Liverpool Striker Sadio Mane has helped Senegal to a 2-0 win over Zimbabwe and be the first team in the AFCON tournament to qualify for the Quarter Finals.
Mane scored Senegal’s first goal on none minutes, prodding home a nice cross from Lazio forward Keita Balde Diao. The build up play to the goal had been equally impressive with central midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate dispossessing his opposite number before feeding the ball wide to Diao. Diao cross-cum-shot was knocked home by Mane who showed great pace and awareness to be in the right place at the right time.
Minutes later Senegal had doubled its lead via a Henri Saivet free kick from 20 yards. The Newcastle player who is on loan at Ligue 1 side St Etienne struck his free kick sweetly over the top of the wall as it nestled in the top left hand corner of the goal.
Senegal continued to knock on the door as it searched in vein for a third goal. First Mane had a lobbed shot cleared off the line by defender Costa Nhamoinesu.
Then later on in the match Stoke City’s Mame Biram Diouf’s left-footed shot went harmlessly over the bar when Zimbabwe was on the rack defensively.
Zimbabwe’s best chance of the game came late in the first half when Khama Billiat could only hit his shot straight at Senegal keeper Abdoulaye Diallo. Diallo also made a smart save in the second half to deny Nyasha Mushekwi’s low drive which could have altered the outcome of the match.
With the win Senegal has wrapped up a quarter final place and now only need a draw in its final group match against Algeria.
Astonishingly after just one point from two games, Zimbabwe can still qualify for the Quarter Final’s with a win over second placed Tunisia in Monday night’s fixture coupled with an Algeria loss or draw to Senegal.