Football

Mane leads Senegal into quarter-finals

Liverpool star Sadio Mane scored as Senegal defeated Zimbabwe 2-0 in Franceville yesterday morning (Singapore time) to become the first team to qualify for the African Nations Cup quarter-finals.

Senegal coach Aliou Cisse made one change to the line-up that started in the 2-0 win over Tunisia on Monday, preferring Henri Saivet to Pape Ndiaye in midfield.

It proved to be a masterstroke by the 2002 World Cup star as Saivet played a prominent role in the opening goal before doubling the lead himself.

Senegal took the lead on nine minutes as a superb Saivet pass set up Keita Balde to cross for an unchallenged Mane to tap in at the far post.

When Onismor Bhasera fouled Balde just outside the box four minutes later, Saivet curled the free-kick over the wall and past goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva to make it 2-0.

"The goal today was to qualify and we have done that," said Senegal coach Cisse.

"Even when we played badly in the first match (against Tunisia), we won. Today, we played well and won and we have qualified.

10-YEAR WAIT

"It's been 10 years since we last made the quarter-finals. Now we have done it and I congratulate the players. I am very proud of the guys."

With six points, Senegal are assured of topping Group B, even if they lose their final match against struggling Algeria, and will meet the Group A runners-up for a last-four place.

Tunisia look likeliest to join them in the knockout phase, having recovered from the opening loss to Senegal to beat Algeria 2-1 in the first half of a double-header.

Tunisia have three points, while Algeria and Zimbabwe have one each after two games.

Senegal face Algeria in Franceville on Tuesday morning, while Tunisia will meet Zimbabwe in the Gabonese capital, Libreville. - AFP

africaliverpoolFootball