SPORT: Football
how Senegal and Sadio Mané managed to defeat Burkina Faso.

In a tur­bu­lent match, VAR net­ted two Sene­galese penal­ties, with Burk­in­abé goal­keep­er Hervé Kof­fi pick­ing up the injury in the events of the first.

Abdou Dial­lo and Idris­sa Gueye put Sene­gal in charge before Blati Toure closed the gap late.

It was Mane’s 29th goal for his coun­try, putting him lev­el with Hen­ri Cama­ra at the top of their all-time goalscor­ing list.

“It shows you the momen­tum we have,” Mane said. “We knew it was not going to be easy at all to get to two con­sec­u­tive AFCON finals, but the most impor­tant thing for us now is to go all the way and win, no mat­ter who we face.

“We were up against a very good Burk­in­abe team which caused us a lot of problems.

“We expect­ed a tough game and it was, but we stayed calm and cre­at­ed plen­ty of chances. I think we deserved to win.

“I think you can see on my face how hap­py I am, which is com­plete­ly nor­mal. I’m real­ly proud per­son­al­ly and very hap­py for myself, my team-mates and the country.”

Just four min­utes into the game at the Ahmadou Ahid­jo sta­di­um in Cameroon’s cap­i­tal, Yaoundé, there was a seri­ous clash of head­ers after a ful­ly com­mit­ted 50–50 chal­lenge between Nam­palys Mendy and Cyrille Bayala.

It set the tone for what would be a bloody and fierce­ly con­test­ed last four clash between two teams who have both reached the final of this com­pe­ti­tion in the past but nev­er won it.

Sene­gal are Africa’s high­est ranked team — 20th on Fifa’s world list — and their extra class has final­ly been revealed.

They were teased with the oppor­tu­ni­ty to open the scor­ing twice before the break, with Kof­fi’s aer­i­al clash with Cheikhou Kouy­ate and Edmond Tap­soba’s elbow block on Idris­sa Gueye both ruled as on-field penalties .

But both were prop­er­ly knocked down by ref­er­ee Bam­lak Tesse­ma Weye­sa after being called to view them on the mon­i­tor by the video officials.

There was still a cost for Burk­i­na Faso, with Kof­fi injured in the 36th minute after land­ing awk­ward­ly on Crys­tal Palace mid­field­er Kouy­ate as he tried to clear.

The Stal­lions are used to deal­ing with adver­si­ty, how­ev­er, hav­ing come this far despite being out­siders and against the back­drop of a mil­i­tary coup in their home country.

The fact that they pushed the con­test so deep is a trib­ute to their courage and a defi­ant per­for­mance that gave the favorites more of a scare, main­ly via Bertrand Tra­ore’s direct run from Aston Villa.

After Idris­sa Gueye entered to make it 2–0 in the 76th minute — six min­utes after Dial­lo arrived from a cor­ner — Kamou Mal­o’s team could have withered.

But Toure gave them brief hope with his 82nd-minute effort, before Sene­galese tal­is­man Mane had his say on the occa­sion with a dri­ving run and a chipped fin­ish three min­utes from time.

For­mer Nige­ria strik­er Efan Ekoku, speak­ing to BBC Three:

Sadio Mane plays like an 18, 19 year old all the time. He has a real desire.

He has real self­less­ness and when he plays for his coun­try there is no ego at all.

He is one of my all time favorite play­ers in world foot­ball, I can’t think of any­one else I would want in my team.

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