Sadio Mane's record-equalling strike sends Senegal into Afcon final

Liverpool forward scores 29th goal for Senegal to draw level with Camara and seal 3-1 win over Burkina Faso

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Sadio Mane scored a record-equalling 29th goal for his country as Senegal defeated Burkina Faso 3-1 in their Africa Cup of Nations semi-final on Wednesday.

After a goalless first half, Abdou Diallo and Idrissa Gueye put Senegal in control after the break only for Blati Toure to pull a goal back. But Senegal were not to be denied a second successive Afcon final as Mane calmly chipped home to seal his team's place in Sunday's championship game.

It was Mane's 29th goal for Senegal, taking him level with Henri Camara at the top of their all-time scorer list. And Mane could be going up against his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah in the final, if Egypt come out on top against hosts Cameroon on Thursday.

The two big moments of an incident-packed opening half came via referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa, who twice awarded Senegal a penalty but twice reversed his decision after a VAR check.

The first came just before the half-hour mark when Burkina Faso goalkeeper Herve Koffi came charging off his line for a high ball and clattered into Cheikhou Kouyate.

Both players had to be carried off the pitch on a stretcher and while Crystal Palace midfielder Kouyate was able to continue, Koffi was not so lucky.

Weyesa then went to check the incident on the pitchside monitor and reversed his decision as replays showed Koffi had punched the ball away fractionally before taking out Kouyate.

Deep into what was nearly eight minutes of injury-time — and after substitute goalkeeper Farid Ouedraogo had pushed a powerful Mane strike out for a corner — Ethiopian referee Weyesa pointed to the spot again.

The ball had fallen to Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Gueye inside the penalty area and his piledriver was turned away by Edmond Tapsoba, who was deemed to have blocked with his hand.

Weyesa again returned to the pitchside monitor and again changed his mind, also reversing the yellow card he had shown Tapsoba. In Weyesa's defence, both penalty calls were the right ones.

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Senegal suffered a scare 10 minutes into what was a cagey start to the second half. Burkina Faso forward Bertrand Traore chased a ball over the top and looked to be in on goal but Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly showed his quality by getting back to hook the ball back on to the Burkinabe captain's face and out for a goal kick.

For all their star power, Senegal were failing to break down Burkina Faso's defence and a double change was made with Ismaila Sarr and Pape Gueye introduced.

Watford winger Sarr made an immediate impact and one of his crosses from the right was headed out for a corner that would lead to the opening goal after 70 minutes.

The resulting corner was acrobatically hooked towards goal by Koulibaly and his defensive partner Diallo took a touch before sidefooting home.

Burkina Faso suddenly looked drained and it should have been 2-0 minutes later but substitute Pape Gueye could only head the ball wide from a cross with the goal at his mercy.

The second, though, arrived soon after and it was set-up by Mane who dispossessed Issoufou Dayo on the by-line before cutting the ball back for Idrissa Gueye to drill home after 76 minutes.

That looked like that but Burkina Faso were not finished yet. With eight minutes left, Toure picked the perfect moment to score his first goal for his country when he kneed home a cross from the right.

Suddenly, Senegal were rocked. But as quickly as Burkinabe hopes were raised, they were soon dashed again by the class of Mane.

Picking up the ball on the counter-attack, Mane showed magnificent composure to stride through on goal and chip over the goalkeeper and into the net for a historic goal.

Updated: February 03, 2022, 5:36 AM
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