Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse says his players should not rest on their laurels, despite picking a massive 5-1 home win against Mozambique on Friday in the qualifiers for the 2023 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations.
- Senegal thrashed Mozambique 5-1
- Mane had missed the World Cup with injury
- Mali beat Gambia in another match
Sadio Mane scored on his return to the Senegal squad as the Lions of Teranga thrashed Mozambique 5-1 in an Africa Cup of Nations qualifier At the Stade Me Abdoulaye Wade in Diamniadio.
Mane had missed the World Cup after suffering from injury just days to the kick off in Qatar, but he showed his class once again, hitting the back of the net as he played the full 90 minutes.
The reigning African champions were in roaring form, stinging the Mozambicans to earn their third successive win in Group L and move to nine points, a massive five ahead second placed Mozambique.
Senegal can comprehensively wrap up their ticket to defend their title in Ivory Coast with victory against the Mambas in next week’s return duel in Maputo.
“I am delighted because this is a match that we approached very well. We told the players to go at them from the first minute. However, the truth of the matter is tonight is not the same as the match we will play in four days’ time. In Maputo, the task will be difficult because it is not easy to win there,” said Senegal head coach Aliou Cisse.
Mane scored the second goal with Youssouf Sabaly, Ilman Ndiaye and Boulaye Dia providing the other three. For a 4-0 halftime lead.
Gildo VIlanculos grabbed one back at the start of the second half, but Senegal restored their four-goal cushion with an 89th minute goal from substitute Habibou Diallo.
Senegal in flying start
Senegal were in a flying start and broke the deadlock after just nine minutes, Sabaly curling a brilliant left footer into the net after some good build up play. Five minutes later, he turned provider slashing a low cross that Mane tapped home from close range under pressure from a defender.
They were 3-0 up after 32 minutes, Ndiaye scoring with a brilliant volley after picking a cross from the left. Six minutes to the break, the tie was all sealed when Dia got the fourth goal when he rushed to the ball on the second bite of the cherry after his initial low shot was saved by the keeper.
In the second half, Mozambique came back strong and just three minutes on the turn they halved the deficit through Gildo’s diving header after the keeper had punched a ferocious freekick from Elias Pelembe.
The visitors momentarily pumped some pressure, but they fazed off with Senegal defending well. The home side wrapped up the victory in the 89th minute, Diallo heading home from a Bamba Dieng cross.
Mali beat Gambia
Elsewhere, Mali picked a 2-0 win over The Gambia at home. Goals in either extreme end of the match from Kamory Doumbia and Adama Traore gave the Malians victory. Doumbia scored after three minutes when he volleyed home from inside the box.
Traore scored from the spot after the Gambia keeper brought down Nene Dorgeles inside the box. Mali top Group G with nine points off three wins on the trot, six ahead of second placed South Sudan. Victory next week in Gaborone will confirm their place in Ivory Coast.
Meanwhile, Gambia, who reached the quarter finals of their debut appearance last year, have lost their second match in a row and are on three points, separated from the South Sudanese on goal difference.