Afcon 2021: Late Mane penalty gives Senegal narrow win over Zimbabwe

Sadio Mane shoots at goal for Senegal
Sadio Mane saw a first-half effort saved, but made no mistake from the penalty spot late on

A Sadio Mane penalty seven minutes into added time enabled lacklustre Senegal to beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in their Africa Cup of Nations Group B opener.

Defeat was harsh on Zimbabwe, who made one of the tournament favourites look distinctly ordinary in Bafoussam.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Kelvin Madzongwe was adjudged to have handled as he turned his back on a strike from Pape Gueye.

Liverpool forward Mane rifled home to give Senegal the perfect start.

Featuring a side shorn of several players, including captain Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy, because of Covid, the Senegalese had earlier missed a host of chances.

The best fell to midfielder Gana Gueye shortly before half-time but the Paris St-Germain star could not control an easy pass from Mane with the goal beckoning.

Mane himself had been denied earlier in the half when shooting straight at impressive Zimbabwe goalkeeper Petros Mhari after wriggling into space in the box.

Depleted Senegal fail to impress

Senegal came into this tournament seeking a first Nations Cup crown after losing the 2019 final to Algeria, but were far from their best after only being able to name 17 players, out of a squad of 28, through a mix of Covid cases and injuries.

Bayern Munich defender Bouna Sarr struck a low shot inches wide for the first chance before Keita Balde also failed to hit the target.

At the other end, Zimbabwe captain Knowledge Musona let fly from 20 yards only to see his fine strike whistle past the post as his side, looking to reach the knock-out stages for the first time, went close.

Shortly after half-time, Pape Cisse spurned a glorious chance to break the deadlock but could only steer his free header from a corner powerfully past the post with Mhari stranded.

Ultimately, Senegal – Africa’s top-ranked side for the last three years – failed to impress against a well-organised Zimbabwe side who showed no ill effect from the uncertainty surrounding their participation at the finals.

In the run-up to the tournament, the threat of a ban by football’s world governing body had loomed after a government-mandated body had taken control of the local FA, which goes against Fifa regulations.

They were seconds away from keeping their first clean sheet at the Nations Cup, at the 13th attempt, only to be undone when referee Mario Escobar pointed to the spot, with the video assistant referee backing his on-field decision.



Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Dieng
  • 21Mbaye
  • 4Cissé
  • 22Diallo
  • 12Ballo-Touré
  • 20Sarr
  • 8Kouyaté
  • 5Gueye
  • 9DiaSubstituted forGueyeat 77′minutes
  • 10Mané
  • 7KeitaBooked at 31minsSubstituted forDialloat 64′minutes


  • 11Diallo
  • 13Lopy
  • 24Name
  • 25Loum
  • 26Gueye
  • 28Faty


Formation 4-1-4-1

  • 1Mhari
  • 22Chimwemwe
  • 5Takwara
  • 15HadebeBooked at 52mins
  • 14Bhasera
  • 4MadzongweBooked at 90mins
  • 7Wadi
  • 17MusonaSubstituted forTigereat 88′minutes
  • 8BenyuSubstituted forKamusokoat 71′minutes
  • 12Kangwa
  • 18DubeSubstituted forKadewereat 45′minutes


  • 2Murwira
  • 6Mudimu
  • 9Moyo
  • 10Kadewere
  • 11Tigere
  • 13Kamusoko
  • 16Mahachi
  • 19Muskwe
  • 20Muduhwa
  • 21Shumba
  • 23Mapisa

Mario Escobar

Match Stats

Live Text

  1. Match ends, Senegal 1, Zimbabwe 0.

  2. Second Half ends, Senegal 1, Zimbabwe 0.

  3. Goal! Senegal 1, Zimbabwe 0. Sadio Mané (Senegal) converts the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner.

  4. Kelvin Madzongwe (Zimbabwe) is shown the yellow card for hand ball.

  5. Attempt blocked. Pape Gueye (Senegal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Idrissa Gueye.

  6. Penalty conceded by Kelvin Madzongwe (Zimbabwe) with a hand ball in the penalty area.

  7. Attempt missed. Bouna Sarr (Senegal) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ibrahima Mbaye.

  8. Attempt blocked. Idrissa Gueye (Senegal) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

  9. Offside, Senegal. Pape Gueye tries a through ball, but Sadio Mané is caught offside.

  10. Attempt blocked. Bouna Sarr (Senegal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Sadio Mané.

  11. Sadio Mané (Senegal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Foul by Kelvin Madzongwe (Zimbabwe).

  13. Substitution, Zimbabwe. Never Tigere replaces Knowledge Musona because of an injury.

  14. Foul by Habib Diallo (Senegal).

  15. Gerald Takwara (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Attempt blocked. Sadio Mané (Senegal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Idrissa Gueye with a cross.

  17. Foul by Abdou Diallo (Senegal).

  18. Ishmael Wadi (Zimbabwe) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  19. Corner, Zimbabwe. Conceded by Pape Abou Cissé.

  20. Attempt missed. Tinotenda Kadewere (Zimbabwe) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Takudzwa Chimwemwe.

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