'Devastating penalty miss helped Senegal's Mane improve'

'Devastating penalty miss helped Senegal's Mane improve'
Sadio Mane of Senegal

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Saturday Nov 25, 2017. 14:00

Legendary Senegalese midfielder Salif Diao believes that Sadio Mane has improved since missing a crucial penalty against Cameroon earlier this year.

Mane inspired Senegal to the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) quarter-finals where they faced Cameroon, who held them to a goalless draw and a penalty shootout followed.

Liverpool FC forward missed Senegal's fifth penalty and eventual tournament winners Cameroon advanced to the semifinals, while the Lions of Teranga bowed of the competition in Gabon.

Diao, who played for English sides Liverpool, Stoke City and Birmingham City during his playing career, has stated that Mane, 25, has since gone to another level.

"These things happen in football and the most important thing is how you bounce back," Diao told BBC Sport.

"It was a hard situation for him but sometimes at the top level, you need to get hurt before you grow.

"He has gone to another level since that episode," Diao, who played 39 times fpr Senegal, added.

Mane recently played an instrumental role in helping Senegal qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals and he has also been nominated for the 2017 CAF African Player of the Year accolade.

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