Mane snatches dramatic win over African champions Senegal

Liverpool star Sadio Mane scored a penalty eight minutes into added time to hand Senegal a dramatic 1-0 win over heartbroken Rwanda on Tuesday in 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Forced to play a home match in Senegal for lack of an international standard stadium, Rwanda were poised to hold a side ranked 116 places higher in the world.

But Mane saved the Teranga Lions in the 98th minute, with a hard, low penalty that escaped the outstretched hand of goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera.

Mane featured in the holders’ first two games, scoring four goals, including a hat-trick on matchday one against Benin.

Despite the huge ranking gap, Senegal took no chances against Rwanda’s Wasps, who have qualified for the Nations Cup just once in 13 attempts.

Coach Aliou Cissé picked seven members of the squad that started the final victory over Egypt in Cameroon four months ago and introduced two others on the bench.

Mozambique, who started their campaign with a draw with Rwanda, could close the gap behind Senegal to two points with a win against Benin’s bottom team on Wednesday.

In Group H, Kings Kangwa fired a free kick into the net in the 88th minute to hand Zambia a vital 2-1 victory over Comoros in Lusaka.

Former African champions Zambia won success the hard way, coming from behind in a fast-paced, foul-riddled regional showdown.

Serbian Ben Nabouhane took advantage of two defensive confusions to put the visitors ahead in the 13th minute in a packed National Heroes stadium.

Kangwa is Zambia’s hero

Constant Zambian pressure paid off in added time of the first half when a corner was partially cleared and Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Enock Mwepu scored with a low shot through a crowd of players.

Comoros squandered several chances early in the second half to regain the lead and failures came back to haunt them as Kangwa earned a deserved victory.

Zambia needed maximum points after losing to Ivory Coast last Friday, the same day Comoros won at home to Lesotho.

This group is the only one of 12 where winners and runners-up do not qualify for the 24-nation tournament in June and July 2023.

Ivory Coast automatically qualify as hosts, but compete to train in competitive matches rather than relying on friendlies.

This means only one team from Zambia, Comoros and Lesotho will also make it to the final, and the Zambians are desperate to avoid failing to qualify for four consecutive Nations Cups.

Burkina Faso, fourth in the Nations Cup in Cameroon four months ago, quickly took control of Group B with maximum points from two matches while Cape Verde have three and Eswatini and Togo one each.

Dango Ouattara took his two-game tally to three goals with a brace as the Burkinabe stormed after falling behind to beat Eswatini 3-1 in a virtually empty 95,000-seat Johannesburg stadium.

Eswatini had to play in neighboring South Africa because they don’t have an international standard stadium – a problem that has also affected Cape Verde and Rwanda.

Cape Verde hosted Togo in the Moroccan city of Marrakech – nearly 2,500 kilometers (1,500 miles) from their home island in the Atlantic – and won 2-0 with a goal from Jamiro Monteiro in time additional ensuring the victory.

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Post expires at 12:26am on Saturday June 18th, 2022