Super Sadio Mane caps 3-1 win to send Senegal into African Cup final

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Sadio Mane set up a goal and scored the last himself as Senegal beat Burkina Faso 3-1 on Wednesday to reach their second consecutive African Cup of Nations final.

Now, Senegal hopes to finally win a title.

Mane scored on an 87th-minute breakaway to seal victory at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé after Senegal went 2-0 up and then saw Burkina Faso recover a goal with eight minutes remaining.

Senegal will play for the African title against either Egypt or tournament host Cameroon, who will meet in the second semi-final on Thursday.

The Senegal-Burkina Faso semi-final came to life at the end of the match, with all four goals coming in the last 20 minutes.

Defender Abdou Diallo converted a corner kick to give Senegal the lead in the 70th after central defender Kalidou Koulibaly sent the ball into goal with a shot from above. Bamba Dieng made it 2-0 in the 76th when Mane deftly stole possession from a Burkina Faso defender on the baseline and put a cross in the plate for Dieng, who barely got the bunt ahead of his teammate. Idrissa Gueye.

Blati Toure briefly gave Burkina Faso hope when she forced a cross with her knee in the 82nd.

Senegal’s Sadio Mane, right, vies for the ball with Burkina Faso’s Adama Guira, left, during the 2022 Africa Cup of Nations semi-final match between Burkina Faso and Senegal at Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon . (AP Photo)

But Mane seized an opportunity on a counterattack when he broke away from the Burkina Faso defense and passed the ball over goalkeeper Farid Ouedraogo.

Mane casually turned after scoring and ran to the running track surrounding the field, where he was harassed by his teammates.

Mane has done his part by organizing a final meeting between two of Africa’s superstars. He now turns to Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah from Egypt.

Senegal have for years carried the unwanted label of being the best team in Africa that never won the Cup of Nations. He lost the final in 2002 and in the last tournament in 2019.

Mane, coach Aliou Cissé and others from the loss three years ago in Egypt now have a chance to put it right immediately.

Burkina Faso’s starting goalkeeper, Herve Koffi, was stretchered off in the first half after running off his line to clear a ball and crashing into Senegal’s Cheikhou Kouyate, who then landed full weight on Koffi.

Mane put the new goalkeeper Ouedraogo to the test with a devastating shot that he managed to deflect with blows.
Senegal also received a penalty late in the first half for a handball against Edmond Tapsoba, who was celebrating his 23rd birthday.

His present was to see referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa of Ethiopia review the VAR and then disallow the penalty, as well as the yellow card he gave Tapsoba.

Senegal finally broke through when Diallo reacted quickly to score from close range, sending a group of Senegal substitutes onto the pitch to celebrate with him.

While Senegal have another shot at that elusive title, Burkina Faso have now lost one final and two semi-finals in the last five African Cups.

Thursday’s second semi-final pits the two most successful teams in African Cup history against each other. Egypt has a record seven titles and Cameroon five, and the game is a repeat of the 2017 final, which Cameroon won and gave Salah perhaps the bitterest disappointment of his own in an Egypt jersey.

As if that wasn’t enough, he has added spice after the Cameroon football federation released a video of the federation’s president and former Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o telling his players it will be “a war”.

Egypt coach Carlos Queiroz was not happy with that choice of language, especially as it is the first game at the Olembe Stadium in Yaoundé since the tragic crush that left eight fans dead, including two children, in the round of 16 match. from Cameroon last week.

“I think he (Eto’o) forgot that Cameroonians died in the stadium several days ago,” Queiroz said, “and making this declaration of war before a match shows that he learned nothing from his time in professional football.”

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