Senegal Star Mane Out Of World Cup As Iran Shrug Off Protest Talk

FILE: Senegal’s forward Sadio Mane reacts during the Group B Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 football match between Senegal and Guinea at Stade de Kouekong in Bafoussam on January 14, 2022. Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP

 

African Player of the Year Sadio Mane was ruled out of the World Cup through injury on Thursday while Iran’s captain urged his team to focus on football rather than anti-government protests that have rocked his country.

Mane’s omission is a cruel blow for Senegal, who had high hopes of making a long run in the tournament in Qatar thanks to their star forward.

Mane suffered a shin injury playing for Bayern Munich earlier this month but was named in the World Cup squad in the hope he could regain fitness, but on Thursday Senegal conceded that the former Liverpool player would not make it.

“Unfortunately, today’s MRI shows us that the improvement is not as favourable as we imagined and unfortunately we have to withdraw Sadio from the World Cup,” team doctor Manuel Afonso said in a video on the official Senegal team Twitter account.

With Sunday’s kick-off looming, teams are still arriving in Qatar after completing last-minute preparations.

Germany touched down in Doha on Thursday, fresh from a 1-0 friendly victory over Oman.

The 2014 champions are aiming to erase the memory of their ill-fated campaign in Russia four years ago, when they crashed out in the group stage.

Unlike most of the 32 teams who have opted to be based in and around Doha, Germany are staying in the seaside town of Al-Ruwais, 68 miles (111 kilometres) from the capital.

“We want to develop a team spirit there that will carry us through the tournament — and for as long as possible,” team official Oliver Bierhoff said.

Spain were due in Qatar in the early hours of Friday after beating Jordan 3-1 on Thursday in a friendly in Amman.

‘Iran’s minds on football’

Iran’s team are preparing with their homeland rocked by anti-government protests that have cost the lives of dozens of people and become the regime’s biggest challenge from the street in decades.

Iran captain Alireza Jahanbakhsh, asked by a British journalist if his team was able to concentrate on their first match against England on Monday, said: “We are here to play football and that’s the main thing everybody is focused on while we’re here.

“We are just four days away from playing the biggest games of our lives.”

On whether the players would join other Iranian sports figures who have refused to celebrate victories as a form of support for the protests, he said: “You talk about celebration; celebration is something very personal.

“Every single player has a different celebration and you ask about national anthem and that’s something that also has to be decided in the team which we already talked about.”

Heat is on

Other teams meanwhile were adjusting to the searing heat in Doha, where temperatures nudged 34 degrees Celsius (93 degrees Fahrenheit) on Thursday.

England defender Conor Coady said his team planned to adapt to the sweltering conditions after a gruelling morning workout.

“It was hard this morning,” Coady said. “Going out there and over-thinking the heat or thinking it’s too hot will get us nowhere so we’re going out there to embrace it.”

The buildup to this World Cup has been dogged by controversy, including over Qatar’s alleged human rights abuses, suppression of dissent, mistreatment of foreign workers and persecution of LGBTQ people.

Pleas from football’s world governing body FIFA for a switch of focus to football have gone unheeded by some countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron insisted it was a bad idea to politicise sport and said critics of Qatar as hosts should have spoken up when they were awarded the tournament in 2010.

“I think we must not politicise sport,” Macron told reporters in Bangkok, where he is attending a summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

“These questions must be addressed when hosting the event is decided.”

AFP

World Cup: Bayern Munich To Examine Sadio Mane’s Injury

Senegal's forward Sadio Mane (L) is challenged by Cape Verde's defender Steven Fortes during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Senegal and Cape Verde at Stade de Kouekong in Bafoussam on January 25, 2022. Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP
In this file photo, Senegal’s forward Sadio Mane (L) is challenged by Cape Verde’s defender Steven Fortes during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Senegal and Cape Verde at Stade de Kouekong in Bafoussam on January 25, 2022. Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP

 

Bayern Munich will conduct further examinations on Senegal forward Sadio Mane following his injury in their 6-1 win against Werder Bremen on Tuesday.

Mane was withdrawn just after 20 minutes in the whitewashing of Bremen at the Allianz Arena.

“He took a blow to his tibial plateau. It’s a painful spot. He’ll have to have an X-ray to see what’s happened,” coach Julian Nagelsmann said at his post-match press conference.

READ ALSOArgentina Fans In Qatar Give Messi Noisy Backing

The German champions said the African Footballer of the Year suffered the injury on the head of his right fibula and would miss Saturday’s game against Schalke.

Bayern also said the club is in contact with Senegal’s medical staff in Mane’s country Senegal who are banking on the player for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

There is mounting concern among Terenga Lions’ fans following Mane’s withdrawal from the Bremen game with reports claiming that the former Liverpool player will miss the World Cup.

Mane was instrumental as his country lifted the African Cup of Nations for the first time against Egypt in February. He also led to victory in the World Cup playoff against the same opponent.

Senegal is one of the only three African teams to have made it to the quarter-final of the global showpiece. Cameroon and Ghana are the other nations.

The 2000 AFCON finalist will be hoping to better that record in Qatar in what would be their third appearance in the tournament after 2002 and 2018.

Mane Wins Second African Player Of The Year Award

Sadio Mane Wins African Men's Player of the Year Award
Senegalese forward Sadio Mane (C) poses with the trophy after winning the Men’s Player of the Year during the 2022 Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards on July 21, 2022, in the Moroccan capital Rabat. (Photo by AFP)

 

 

Sadio Mane was crowned African Player of the Year in Rabat on Thursday for the second time.

The Senegal forward first won the honour in 2019 while he was at Liverpool.

The 30-year-old left the Premier League club last month after signing a three-year deal with Bayern Munich.

“I am really honoured and highly delighted to receive this award again,” Mane said.

“Thanks to my coaches, my club and national team colleagues and those friends who stood by me during difficult times.”

Mane was in the Moroccan capital to receive the award after a dash across the Atlantic having converted a penalty for his new club in a 6-2 pre-season friendly win over DC United in Washington on Wednesday.

It was the second successive continental player of the year award for Mane after the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of the last two editions.

He won ahead of former Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah from Egypt and fellow Senegal international and Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Mane and Salah played pivotal roles last season with Liverpool, who lifted the FA Cup and English League Cup and finished runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League.

Salah has since signed a new contract at Anfield while Mane opted for a move, with Bayern reportedly paying an initial 32 million euros ($32.5 million) that could rise to 41 million euros.

The transfer fee was a far cry from the four million euros Red Bull Salzburg paid Metz in 2012 when Mane made his first move in Europe.

Decisive penalties

In February, Mane converted the decisive fifth penalty to give Senegal a 4-2 shootout victory over Egypt and a first Africa Cup of Nations title after the final ended 0-0 in Yaounde.

A month later, Mane was once again the shootout match-winner against Egypt, this time in a World Cup play-off near Dakar after a 1-1 aggregate stalemate.

Salah did not get a chance to take a penalty in the Cup of Nations decider while he blazed the first Egyptian kick wide in the play-off that secured a World Cup place in Qatar this November for Senegal.

Born in a village nearly 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Dakar, Mane attracted the attention of Metz having played for local second-tier club Generation Foot.

After enhancing his reputation at Salzburg, Mane joined Southampton, where his feats included scoring a record-breaking 176-second Premier League hat-trick against Aston Villa.

In mid-2016 the Senegalese signed for Liverpool and went on to form a fearsome front three with Salah and Brazilian Roberto Firmino.

As Mane moved to Bayern, Liverpool manager said Jurgen Klopp said: “My only criticism of Sadio is that maybe at times he is the only one not to realise just how good he is.”

Nigerian Asisat Oshoala won the Women’s Player of the Year a record fifth time, overtaking compatriot Perpetua Nkwocha.

The 27-year-old Barcelona forward was forced to miss the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco due to an injury.

AFP

Mane And Salah Renew Rivalry With Top African Award Up For Grabs

Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah

 

 

Another chapter in the personal rivalry between former Liverpool teammates Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah will play out in Rabat on Thursday when the annual African award winners are announced.

Mane was a key figure in the Senegal team that defeated Salah-captained Egypt in the 2021/2022 Africa Cup of Nations final and in a 2022 World Cup play-off.

Both the African title decider in Cameroon and the Qatar eliminator in Senegal were won by the Teranga Lions after penalty shootouts.

Mane scored in each shootout while the final was decided before Salah could take his kick, and he blazed wide in the play-off.

The Senegalese successes have made Mane favourite to win a second straight Player of the Year award after 2019 — the following two editions were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Should Mane win in the Moroccan capital, he will become the first Bayern Munich star to be voted the top African footballer.

The closest a player from the German giants has come to winning was in 1999 and 2001 when Ghanaian Samuel Kuffour finished second.

Mane moved to Bayern last month on a three-year deal after joining Liverpool in 2016 from Southampton and Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp calls him “a complete forward”.

“My only criticism of Sadio is that maybe at times he is the only one not to realise just how good he is.”

Liverpool defender Andy Robertson hailed the predatory instincts of the 30-year-old: “Whenever he is in front of the goal you do not think he will miss.”

Salah lifted the award in 2017 and 2018 and the victory of Mane the following year raised to four the number of winners from Liverpool with another Senegalese, El Hadji Diouf, topping the 2002 vote.

– South Africans dominate women hopefuls –
The Egyptian had an outstanding 2021-2022 season for the Reds, sharing the Golden Boot award with South Korean Son Heung-min of Tottenham Hotspur.

Salah was voted Premier League Player of the Season by both the Professional Footballers’ Association and the Football Writers’ Association.

Algeria captain and Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez is the other former winner among the 10 nominees having come first in 2016 after helping rank outsiders Leicester City become Premier League champions.

Mahrez and Algeria have struggled lately, however, with the defending champions making a humiliating first round exit from the Cup of Nations, then losing a World Cup play-off against Cameroon.

The 10 candidates for the Club Player of the Year include Brazilian Tiago Azulao, whose chart-topping seven goals in the CAF Champions League took Angolan outfit Petro Luanda to a surprise semi-finals spot.

South Africans dominate the Women’s Player of the Year nominees with 2018 winner Thembi Kgatlana, Andile Dlamini, Refiloe Jane and Bambanani Mbane among 10 hopefuls.

Ghana, notable absentees from the ongoing Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Morocco after losing a first round qualifier against Nigeria, have two representatives, Evelyn Badu and Doris Boaduwaa.

Nigeria, the powerhouse of women’s football in Africa for decades, have one candidate, highly decorated Asisat Oshoala, who plays for 2022 European Champions League runners-up Barcelona.

Ruled out of the Cup of Nations in Morocco by injury, Oshoala has been voted African Player of the Year four times, most recently in 2019.

Choosing the best women’s national team will be delayed until after the Cup of Nations final between Morocco and South Africa in Rabat on Saturday.

African football legends, CAF technical committee members, coaches and captains of national teams and of some clubs and selected media pick the winners.

Sadio Mane Signs Three-Year Contract With Bayern Munich

Photo Credit; Bayern Munich

 

FC Bayern have confirmed the signing of Sadio Mané from Liverpool. The 30-year-old attacker has agreed on a contract with the German record champions until 30 June 2025.

Herbert Hainer, FC Bayern president disclosed this on Wednesday  “Sadio Mané is a global star, who underlines the appeal of FC Bayern and will increase the attractiveness of the Bundesliga as a whole.”

“Fans come to the stadiums to see such players. It’s great that our board led by Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidžić have managed to sign a player like Sadio Mané for FC Bayern.”

The Senegalese expressed his elation at arriving at a club he had long admired

“I’m really happy to finally be at FC Bayern in Munich. We spoke a lot and I felt a big interest from this great club right from the beginning, so for me, there were no doubts” Mnae said.

“It’s the right time for this challenge. I want to achieve a lot with this club, in Europe too. During my time in Salzburg, I watched a lot of Bayern games – I really like this club!”

Photo Credit” Bayern Munich

 

In 2016 Mane signed for Liverpool, with whom he won the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in 2019.

He also played a leading role in the English giants’ long-awaited Premier League title in 2020. Last season Mané collected the EFL Cup and FA Cup, as well as being a runner-up in the Champions League and Premier League.

The forward made a total of 269 competitive appearances for the Reds, scoring 120 goals.

Mane Poses In Bayern Shirt During Munich Medical Check

Sadio Mane posed in a Bayern Munich shirt to sign autographs on June 21, 2022.
Sadio Mane posed in a Bayern Munich shirt to sign autographs on June 21, 2022.

 

Sadio Mane signed autographs wearing a Bayern Munich shirt Tuesday after flying to Germany for a medical check before the Liverpool forward completes a move to the Bundesliga champions.

Broadcaster Sky showed footage of the 30-year-old touching down at Munich airport before being taken to a hospital in the city centre for a medical exam by Bayern’s team doctor.

During a break in the medical test, Mane appeared in a red Bayern training shirt and signed autographs for waiting fans.

According to media reports, Mane’s transfer will cost Bayern around 41 million euros (£35 million, $43 million).

“I am happy he has landed,” Thomas Mueller said while attending a golf tournament in Munich on Tuesday.

Bayern’s German international forward joked that he soon hopes to see Mane hit “lots of birdies” on the city’s courses.

The Senegal forward is expected to sign a three-year contract and is set to hold his first Bayern press conference Wednesday.

Mane would be a replacement for wantaway Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski, who has been linked to a Barcelona transfer, or winger Serge Gnabry, who is stalling over a contract extension.

 

AFP

Liverpool Agree To Sadio Mane’s £35m Bayern Munich Move – Reports

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane reacts after losing the UEFA Champions League final football match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, in May 28, 2022. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

Liverpool have agreed to allow Senegalese player, Sadio Mane, to make a move to Bayern Munich for a fee worth £35 million.

Bayern had two early bids of  £25 million and £30 million rejected for the Reds forward after losing out on a chance to sign Erling Haaland.

According to Sky News, Mane’s switch to Munich is now a ‘done deal’ after Liverpool accepted an improved offer from the Bundesliga champions.

Bayern are expected to pay an initial £27.5 million and an additional £5 million based on appearance. There is also a clause of  £2.5 million that will be paid to Liverpool, which depends on the individual and team achievements.

While Bayern have reportedly rejected offers from Barcelona’s offer of €32 million plus €5 million in add-on for Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, the German side are hopeful he will stay and pair with Mane.

The deal, when finalised, is expected to draw the curtain on an iconic six-year Anfield career for the Senegalese which saw him produce 120 goals in 269 games while winning every major honour available.

Ronaldo, Mane Missing As EPL Unveils Player of The Season Nominees

File COMBO of the shortlisted EASports Player of the year 2021/2022 awards nominees

 

EA SPORTS on Friday unveiled nominees for the 2021/2022 Premier League Player of the Season award and surprising exclusions were Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo and Liverpool’s forward Sadio Mane.

Ronaldo, who won the Premier League Player of the Month for April, and Mane – a key man in Liverpool’s quadruple-chasing side – did not make the cut in a list that included Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has been a shining light in United’s dismal season with 18 goals in 30 league matches. He has also twice been named as the Premier League’s player of the month. Similarly, the Senegalese star has scored 15 goals in 33 league appearances as the Anfield club bid for the unprecedented quadruple. His Liverpool teammates Mohammed Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been important to Jurgen Klopp team’s blistering form this season.

File COMBO of Sadio Mane and Cristiano Ronaldo

 

Salah, who was  2017/18 EA SPORTS Player of the Season and also the leader in the Golden Boot race with 22 goals, was shortlisted for the prize. Arnold, on the other hand, has contributed at both ends of the pitch, dominating the right flank for the second-best defence in 2021/22 as well as scoring two goals and setting up 12 more, the second-most of all players.

The shortlist also included Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Jaoa Cancelo. Both have also been vital to Guardiola’s dream of lifting a consecutive Premier League title. The 2019/20 winner is aiming to be only the fourth player to claim more than one EA SPORTS Player of the Season award.

Tottenham’s Son Heung-min, who has been important to the side’s resurgence with 21 goals – only one behind Salah in the Golden Boot race – is also in the running for the top award. 

Having been a key part of a top-four chasing Arsenal, Saka’s contributions to the Gunners this season were rewarded with a nomination. 

Also included in the shortlist is Jarrod Bowen. He is the second West Ham United player to reach double figures for both goals and assists in a Premier League season. Bowen scored 10 and set up 10, justifying his inclusion on the list.

James Ward-Prowse completes the list of nominees for the award. He has been an unsung hero in the heart of the midfield for Southampton. The Saints have caught the eye with some magnificent performances leading to nine goals. Five of them came from trademark direct free-kicks.

Mane Ends Goal Drought As Senegal Overcome Nine-Man Cape Verde

Senegal's forward Sadio Mane (L) is challenged by Cape Verde's defender Steven Fortes during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Senegal and Cape Verde at Stade de Kouekong in Bafoussam on January 25, 2022. Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP
Senegal’s forward Sadio Mane (L) is challenged by Cape Verde’s defender Steven Fortes during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Senegal and Cape Verde at Stade de Kouekong in Bafoussam on January 25, 2022. Pius Utomi EKPEI / AFP

 

Liverpool star Sadio Mane ended a 243-minute Senegal goal drought by scoring in a 2-0 win over nine-man Cape Verde in a fiery Africa Cup of Nations last-16 clash in Bafoussam on Tuesday.

The goal came on 63 minutes after the islanders had goalkeeper Josimar ‘Vozinha’ Dias and midfielder Patrick Andrade sent off.

Mane was forced to leave the field soon after breaking the deadlock as his face was swollen following a collision with Vozinha, which led to the second red card.

READ ALSO: Eight Dead In Cameroon Stadium Stampede

Bamba Dieng, who replaced Mane, added a second goal two minutes into added time after a breakaway left a single Cape Verde defender facing two Senegalese attackers.

Senegal, seeking to win the flagship African competition for the first time after twice finishing runners-up, will meet Mali or Equatorial Guinea on Sunday in the quarter-finals.

“We expected Cape Verde to be very defensive and that is what transpired,” said Senegal coach and former star Aliou Cisse.

“I told my players to be extremely patient and they followed instructions perfectly. Even when Cape Verde had 11 players, we dominated the match.”

Before the kick-off, the teams and match officials stood still and silent in memory of the eight people who died in a crush at Olembe Stadium in Yaounde on Monday before Cameroon defeated the Comoros.

Cape Verde welcomed back head coach Pedro ‘Bubista’ Brito, who had to watch the group stage in the island nation as he recovered from coronavirus.

In the opposite dugout was Cisse, a Cup of Nations runner-up as a player in 2002 and as a coach in 2019.

Having failed to score in their last two group matches against Guinea and Malawi, Senegal almost took the lead 40 seconds into the match through Mane.

Major blow

Following a move down the left flank, the ball ran loose in the box and the reigning African Footballer of the Year unleashed a thunderbolt that cannoned off the far post.

Senegal seemed determined to end their goal drought early in the match and continually put pressure on the Cape Verde defence at Stade Kouekong in the western Cameroon highlands.

Cape Verde suffered a major blow on 21 minutes when Andrade was sent off for stamping on the leg of Pape Gueye.

The Algerian referee initially produced a yellow card, then upgraded it to a red after watching replays of the incident on the touchline VAR monitor.

Despite being numerically disadvantaged, Cape Verde contained Senegalese attacks until Mane came close to breaking the deadlock six minutes before half-time.

A slick exchange of passes inside the box set Mane free, but Vozinha and Steven Fortes combined to block his attempt to score.

As if facing one of the tournament title favourites with 10 men was not sufficiently difficult, Cape Verde were reduced to nine men when Vozinha was sent off 12 minutes into the second half.

The goalkeeper and Mane collided as they chased a long pass and after going to the monitor again, the referee brandished his red card to the goalkeeper, who had left the field suffering from concussion.

Marcio da Rosa, who plays in the Portuguese third division, took over as goalkeeper with forward Garry Rodrigues taken off.

Senegal were quick to take advantage of having two extra outfield players as Mane scored with a superbly placed shot into the roof of the net when a corner was only partially cleared by Nuno Borges.

Mane Scores 100th Liverpool Goal In Palace Stroll

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C) vies with Crystal Palace’s English defender Joel Ward (R) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 18, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Sadio Mane scored his 100th Liverpool goal as the Senegal star inspired a 3-0 win against Crystal Palace that sent his side top of the Premier League on Saturday.

Mane’s milestone strike came in his 224th appearance for the Reds, breaking Palace’s rearguard action late in the first half at Anfield.

Egypt forward Mohamed Salah and Guinea midfielder Naby Keita netted in the second half to move Jurgen Klopp’s team three points clear of second-placed Manchester City.

It was fitting that Mane should make it to his century against Palace as he set a new Premier League record for the most consecutive games a player has scored against one opponent.

It was the ninth successive match that Mane had netted against Palace.

More importantly for Klopp, Mane already has four goals this term, suggesting he is ready to put last season’s disappointing personal campaign behind him.

After Liverpool’s lacklustre, injury-hit defence of the Premier League title, they are back in the groove in the chase to regain the trophy from Manchester City.

Klopp’s men have opened the season with an unbeaten run of four wins from five games, with just one goal conceded and 12 scored.

French defender Ibrahima Konate, signed from Leipzig in the close season, was handed his Liverpool debut as one of six changes from the midweek Champions League win over AC Milan.

Klopp switched his entire back four, with Virgil van Dijk returning, James Milner playing on the right instead of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kostas Tsimikas replacing Andy Robertson.

 

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C) celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 18, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Mane Stars

Initially, Liverpool seemed unsettled by Klopp’s alterations and Palace nearly took advantage of a defensive blunder that ended with Alisson Becker pushing Wilfried Zaha’s shot onto the post.

Diogo Jota led the Liverpool response as the Portugal forward fired across goal from a tight angle.

Jordan Henderson scored Liverpool’s winner against AC Milan and the England midfielder was close to netting again when his half-volley from Mane’s cross forced Vicente Guaita to make a good stop.

Jota missed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock, firing over from three yards after the ball was palmed out to him by Guaita.

But Mane ended Palace’s spirited resistance in the 43rd minute.

Salah’s header from Tsimikas’ corner was saved by Guaita and Mane pounced to slam the rebound past the Palace keeper.

Alisson had to make a fine save from Joel Ward’s drive to preserve Liverpool’s lead at the interval.

Palace were inches away from earning a second-half penalty when Conor Gallagher was tripped right on the edge of the area.

Christian Benteke wasted the free-kick, before Van Dijk headed just over at the other end.

Keita’s shot was repelled by Guaita, who scrambled to his feet to deny Salah’s follow-up attempt.

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah removes his shirt as he celebrates after scoring their second goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 18, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

 

Salah wouldn’t be denied a goal for long and the Egypt star delivered the knockout blow in the 78th minute.

Van Dijk helped on a Liverpool corner and Salah was perfectly placed to slot home at the far post.

Keita, on as a second-half replacement for Thiago Alcantara, put the seal on Liverpool’s stroll when he volleyed in from the edge of the area in the 89th minute.

Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Crystal Palace at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on September 18, 2021. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)

AFP

Mane Scores As African Giants Make Mark In World Cup Qualifying

Sadio Mané (Sénégal

 

 

Liverpool star Sadio Mane was among the goals for Senegal who, along with Nigeria and Tunisia, took significant steps on Tuesday toward qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

All three nations are seeded first in mini-leagues and have a maximum six points after two rounds having started with home victories over the lowest-ranked sides before winning away to the second seeds.

Another of the 10 four-team groups is led by lowly Tanzania, who scored off a penalty awarded after just five seconds when defeating Madagascar.

Reigning African Footballer of the Year Mane shrugged off being yellow-carded in Congo Brazzaville to complete a 3-1 victory by converting an 87th-minute penalty.

Boulaye Dia gave Senegal a lead cancelled by a Silvere Ganvoula penalty in first-half added time before Watford forward Ismaila Sarr nudged the visitors ahead again and Mane put the result beyond doubt.

Seeking a second straight World Cup appearance, Senegal have six points in Group H, Namibia four, Congo one and Togo are pointless.

Ahmed Musa made his 100th appearance for Nigeria, who overcame the handicap of lacking seven players because of British coronavirus travel restrictions to defeat Cape Verde 2-1 in Mindelo.

Among the absentees was Leicester City star Kelechi Iheanacho, whose two goals got the Super Eagles off to a winning start in Group C four days ago against Liberia.

Victor Osimhen equalised on 29 minutes for Nigeria after Dylan Tavares put the hosts ahead and the Group C clash was settled by a Kenny Rocha own-goal 14 minutes from time.

Nigeria, six-time qualifiers for the World Cup, have six points, Liberia three and Cape Verde and the Central African Republic one each.

Early and late goals sealed a 2-0 triumph for Tunisia over Zambia in Ndola, giving the north Africans an early three-point advantage in Group B.

– Algeria held -Former Premier League forward Wahbi Khazri converted a ninth-penalty and substitute Anis Ben Slimane pounced on a loose ball to net from close range two minutes into stoppage time.

Tunisia have six points, and Equatorial Guinea share second place with Zambia after an Ivan Salvador penalty earned a 1-0 win over Mauritania in Malabo.

Libya also have maximum points, winning 1-0 in Angola through a Omar al Khoja goal to build a two-point lead over Egypt in Group F.

Algeria stretched an unbeaten run to 29 matches after drawing 1-1 with Burkina Faso, who levelled through Abdoul Tapsoba on 64 minutes after Sofiane Feghouli had put the African champions ahead.

Each side has four points in Group A with Algeria occupying first place on goal difference in a section completed by Niger and Djibouti.

The match was staged in Moroccan city Marrakech because no stadium in Burkina Faso meets international standards.

Tanzania captain Erasto Nyoni converted what is believed to be one of the quickest penalties ever awarded as the Group J outsiders went top of the standings, ahead of Benin on goals scored.

There are no official records of the fastest penalties awarded in international football.

After Tanzania surrendered a two-goal lead by half-time, they won 3-2 thanks to a Feisal Salum goal seven minutes into the second half in Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania and Benin have four points each, the Democratic Republic of Congo two and shock 2019 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finalists Madagascar are pointless.

The 10 group winners after six matchdays are completed in November progress to two-leg play-offs next March, which will decide the five nations to represent Africa at the 2022 World Cup.

Liverpool Beat Southampton To Keep Top-Four Hopes Alive

Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C) heads home the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 8, 2021. Zac Goodwin / POOL / AFP
Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C) heads home the opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on May 8, 2021. Zac Goodwin / POOL / AFP

 

Liverpool kept alive their hopes of a top-four finish in the Premier League as Sadio Mane and Thiago Alcantara sealed a 2-0 win against Southampton on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp’s side moved above Tottenham into sixth place thanks to Mane’s first-half header and Thiago’s first goal for the club in the final moments at Anfield.

Liverpool’s first victory in four games in all competitions leaves them six points behind fourth-placed Leicester with a game in hand in the race to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

It was only their second league win at Anfield in their last 11 matches.

They travel to second-placed Manchester United on Thursday for a crucial clash in their attempt to catch Leicester.

After the failed defence of the title they won last season, Liverpool would be delighted to salvage a troubled campaign with a top-four place.

To do that, they need to win their last four games and hope Leicester and fifth-placed West Ham stumble in the final stretch.

Southampton, 10 points above the relegation zone with four matches left, have now lost 13 of their 17 league games since beating Liverpool in January.

The Saints have earned the fewest points and conceded the most goals in the Premier League in 2021.

Liverpool were quick to scent blood against opponents in such poor form and Mohamed Salah was denied by Fraser Forster after Mane poked the ball through to the Egyptian in the six-yard box.

Diogo Jota’s stinging strike forced another good save from Forster before Salah tested the over-worked keeper from the resulting corner.

Georginio Wijnaldum guided a diving header against the bar as Liverpool kept up the pressure.

Southampton nearly snatched the lead against the run of play when Che Adams met Nathan Tella’s low cross with a close-range effort that was well saved by Alisson Becker.

But 46 seconds later, Liverpool’s dominant spell paid dividends as they broke away to take the lead in the 31st minute.

Salah clipped a cross to the far post and former Southampton forward Mane got behind the visitors defence to head home from close range.

Remarkably, it was the first time the duo had combined for a Premier League goal this season.

Tella should have cancelled out Mane’s 14th goal of the season, but the unmarked winger headed straight at Alisson from Nathan Redmond’s cross.

Jota’s blast was pushed away by Forster early in the second half, but Liverpool weren’t quite so cohesive after the break.

Alisson snuffed out Michael Obafemi’s raid and then turned over Ibrahima Diallo’s rocket from the edge of the area.

Adams had a golden opportunity to equalise in the closing stages after Alisson gifted him possession, but the striker’s effort lacked the accuracy to beat the Brazilian.

Thiago settled Liverpool’s nerves in stoppage time when the former Bayern Munich midfielder rifled home from 18 yards.

AFP