Sadio Mané nets late penalty to offer Senegal success against Zimbabwe

Senegal's Sadio Mané converted a penalty 7 minutes into stoppage time to hand the pre‑tournament favourites a 1-0 success over Zimbabwe at the start of their Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Bafoussam.The Zimbabwe defender Kelvin Madzongwe was penalised for obstructing a shot with his hand extended away from his body in a heartbreaking turn of events for his side as they were on the cusp of an upset at the start of the Group B action.

Senegal are Africa's top-ranked team however had only 18 players available for their opening group match because of coronavirus and injury and, regardless of having the lion's share of belongings and chances, produced a lukewarm performance. Boulaye Dia surged a shot just wide of the Zimbabwe goal after 40 seconds, recommending the match might turn out to be a one-sided affair. However, it showed anything but as Zimbabwe came within seconds of an unanticipated point.

Mané had one resourceful relocation down the left flank, deceiving his way past 2 defenders however then striking his angled effort straight at goalkeeper Petros Mhari in the 24th minute.

The captain, Idrissa Gueye, had the very best effort for Senegal seven minutes from half-time with simply the goalkeeper to beat, however his first touch was too heavy as he steadied himself for a shot and the opportunity was lost. With 20 minutes to go the Senegal defender Abdou Diallo came close with a headed attempt from a free-kick, putting it simply over the crossbar.

Zimbabwe were restricted to a handful of counterattacking opportunities and set-piece opportunities, the very best of which their captain, Knowledge Musona, squandered by drifting it over the top. They had actually been under threat of expulsion prior to the competition by Fifa, who warned of a ban after the Zimbabwe Football Association was disbanded by the federal government following allegations of fraud, but a due date to reinstate the association's executive has actually passed without any action.

Guinea beat Malawi 1-0 in the day's other Group B game with a first-half goal from Issiaga Sylla.Meanwhile in Group C, Morocco's game against Ghana at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaoundé seemed to be heading for a goalless draw when Sofiane Boufal pounced on a loose ball to score Morocco's 83rd-minute winner.In the other game in the group, Gabon beat Comoros 1-0 thanks to a 16th-minute strike from forward Aaron Boupendza.

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