Senegal got their Group B 2021 AFCON opener to a tough start against Zimbabwe at the Kuoekong Stadium on Monday.
A side which saw its number one and Chelsea first choice, Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly and Famara Diedhiou rocked by COVID-19, could not do enough to find the back of the net. A set up that included Crystal Palace Cheikhou Kouyate, Liverpool’s Sadio Mane and Balde Diao Keita of Cagliari, enjoyed a lion share of possession yet failed to turn that into goals. The Warriors of Zimbabwe remained resilient with the first half remaining goalless.
Back for the second half, Senegal kept mounting pressure on the Warriors but had challenges in converting the pressure into meaning goal scoring chances. Liverpool forward, Sadio Mane was better placed to find Senegal’s opener but Warriors goalkeeper, Petros Mhari saved the situation on the 73rd minute. The Senegalese came into the game as the favorites on paper but have been frustrated by the Zimbabweans much to the surprise of many.
With added time to play, Senegal were awarded a penalty which was converted by Liverpool forward, Sadio Mane. Referee Mario Escorba finally whistled for the end of the entire game with Teranga Lions claiming all three points in match day one for group B.