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Mane ends goal drought in style vs Bolivia

7:49 am AEST 25/9/22
Sadio Mane of Senegal during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations.
Sadio Mane put in a man of the match performance as Senegal beat Bolivia 2-0 in a friendly match on Saturday.
  • Sadio Mane put in a man of the match performance against Bolivia
  • Bayern Munich star scored a penalty and started move for the first goal
  • Senegal looked sharp, which will delight their supporters ahead of World Cup

WHAT HAPPENED? Mane inspired a brilliant first half for the Teranga Lions when he started the move that led to Boulaye Dia’s opening goal after just four minutes. The Bayern Munich star, who started on the left side of Senegal’s attack, found Pathe Ciss whose lofted pass was met by the Salernitana striker. Dia then fired home a left-footed a volley.

Mane scored a penalty in the 44th minute, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way, for his 34th goal for his country and his first goal since August.

The African champions then eased off in the second half with coach Aliou Cisse making several changes to test a number of players.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Senegal have now made it three straight wins following their victories against Benin and Rwanda in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, and Cisse will be delighted with his side’s display given how strong they started.

Despite calling up five new players to the squad, the coach still started with the tried and tested, although he went with a young starting XI, that included Fode Ballo-Toure, Pape Gueye, Pape Matar Sarr, Krepin Diatta and Dia, which might point to his approach ahead of the World Cup.

ALL EYES ON: Despite his recent goal drought for Bayern, Mane was still the main man and he came up trumps, looking sharp and incisive in his movement and passing, and was rewarded with the goal which now sees him score in three straight matches for his country following a hat-trick against Benin and a spot-kick at home to Rwanda.

THE VERDICT: The African champions look to be in great shape as they tune up for the World Cup where they will face hosts Qatar, Ecuador and the Netherlands in Group A. Saturday’s match also indicated that they have good depth which will come in handy in Qatar as they still looked strong even with Idrissa Gueye, Cheikhou Kouyate and Ismaila Sarr on the bench.

WHAT NEXT FOR SENEGAL? The Teranga Lions next face World Cup-bound Iran in another friendly encounter on Tuesday in what will be a different test given Carlos Queiroz’s men like to employ a more defensive approach.