Tuesday Jun 07, 2022. 23:03
Senegal defeated Rwanda 1-0 in a 2023 Africa Cup of Nations Group L qualifier at the Diamniadio Olympic Stadium in Dakar on Tuesday night, with star man Sadio Mane scoring a late penalty to decide the match.
Though the result means the Teranga Lions are top of the standings with a full haul of six points, a lack of spark and penetration will be a worry for the West African heavyweights, who were far off the standard they set this past weekend when defeating Benin 3-1 to open their qualification campaign.
Senegal bossed possession from early on, but struggled to create clear chances with which to test Rwanda goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera, who was not called upon to make a save within the opening 30 minutes.
The shot-stopper was finally called into action a few minutes before half time, getting behind Habib Diallo’s effort to ensure the score remained goalless.
Amavubi were defensively disciplined, closing down space for the likes of Sadio Mane and Ismaila Sarr to operate in, though they were unable to offer any real threat on the counter attack in the first 45 minutes, leaving the game locked at 0-0 at the interval.
The Teranga Lions’ frustrations continued into the second half and coach Aliou Cisse opted for a double change shortly before the hour mark, as Keita Balde and Saliou Ciss were introduced off the bench.
Further reinforcements arrived with just under 20 minutes to play, as Famara Diedhiou and Papa Gueye were introduced, and a first notable effort on goal in the second half arrived on 73 minutes when Ismaila Sarr cut inside from the right flank and sent a low effort on target, but Kwizera was able to make a solid save.
Rwanda held firm in defence – and were very canny in breaking up play and not allowing Senegal to build up any momentum or rhythm – but their hopes of a creditable draw were dashed deep in injury time when Ciss was tripped up and a penalty was rewarded.
Mane stepped up and scored from the spot eight minutes into injury time to seal victory for the Teranga Lions. The Liverpool forward has scored all four of his nation’s goals in the qualifying campaign thus far.
The teams’ next Group L fixtures will be in September, with Senegal hosting Mozambique and Rwanda visiting Benin.
Senegal (0) 1 (Mane 90+8’ pen)
Rwanda: Kwizera, Mutsinzi, Nirisarike, Manzi, Serumogo, York (Mugunga 85’), Djihad, Muhire (Nishimwe 74’), Imanishimwe (Omborenga 90+4’), Ruboneka, Kagere (Hakiziman 85’)
Senegal: E. Mendy, Sabaly (P. Cisse 78’), Koulibaly, A. Diallo, Ballo-Toure (Ciss 57’), P. Sarr (Balde 57’), N. Mendy (P. Gueye 71’), I. Gueye, I. Sarr, Mane, H. Diallo (Diedhiou 71’)