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Africa Cup of Nations

Afcon 2021: Mane hails decision to take Senegal penalties again

09:19 GMT+3 11/01/2022
Sadio Mane, Algeria, January 2022
The Teranga Lions forward stepped up to take responsibility in a crucial moment which defined the game

Senegal forward Sadio Mane says his decision to be a penalty taker for Senegal paid off after he had retired from spot-kicks duties for the national team.

A stoppage-time Mane penalty handed the Teranga Lions three points in Monday's Group B Afcon opener against Zimbabwe in Bafoussam.

Liverpool star Mane had previously resigned from taking penalties for Senegal but stepped up to take responsibility and it paid off this time.

“I said that I will leave the penalties for the good of the team and I think it was normal,” Mane said, according to Wiwsport.

“So I went back to my club and I worked very well afterwards.

"You never know with the penalties but in any case, what is certain, it is necessary to make the effort to reap the fruits and it has always been my case.”

While Mane was a big threat throughout the encounter, especially in the first half, Zimbabwean defenders managed to contain him more in the second stanza.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has admitted they had some scoring “opportunities to kill the game” but wasted them in the slender win over Zimbabwe.

Senegal dominated the first half in which they promised to lead by a wide margin but “the second half was much more balanced” as Cisse concedes.

“We never gave up, and it was in pain that we were able to have these three points there,” Cisse told the media as per Teranga News.

“It’s saving because this Afcon will be difficult, each game will be difficult, each team comes ready and well prepared. We are very happy, we dedicate it to our Senegalese fans and to all Cameroonians who love Senegal.”

“It was a difficult, contested game. I would like to congratulate Zimbabwe who never gave up, who were eye-catching. But I think we had opportunities to kill the game but we did not do it. We lacked realism and efficiency. ”

Senegal are now tied on three points with fellow Group B contestants Guinea, who edged Malawi 1-0 on the same afternoon.

Senegal now prepare to take on Guinea on Friday in their next Group game.

Zimbabwe will be playing against Malawi on the same day.