Guinea-Bissau suffered to save the best for last to honour a nation when hosting Senegal for the 4th week of 2022 AFCON qualifying game in Bissau. Beaten at home 0-1 on Sunday 15 November 2020, Senegal sealed their place at 2022 AFCON Finals and became the first nation to qualify for AFCON 2021, postponed to January 2022 due to Covid-19, in Cameroon.
The Téranga Lions have once again relied on their star striker Sadio Mané, who netted in the only goal of the encounter in the 82nd minute. Very dominant throughout, Senegal’s victory was hard to achieve. Senegalese strikers were too clumsy when offered scoring opportunities. Former Southampton, Red Bull Salzburg and Metz Sadio Mane wasted two huge opportunities (15th and 75th ), while Sarr, alone with an empty goal begging, crossed his header too much, a minute later.
In search to restoring some pride, Guinea-Bissau’s Bura received his marching orders in 64th minute. Now reduced to ten, African Wild Dogs were not thrown onto the pitch to be the propitiation for the Senegalese, but they found it hard to compete against the offensive onslaught orchestrated by the Senegalese coach. With the substitution of Sarr and Dia by Nguette and Diallo, Aliou Cissé gave the Lions a second wind and cornered the locals. On a breakthrough on the left side, the African Ballon d’Or, Mané accelerated and resisted the charge from opposing defenders before placing a trajectory shot into the net and sent Senegal to Cameroon.
The battle for the second place is heating up in Group I, Guinea-Bissau and Congo will battle it out with the Congolese Red Devils traveling to Eswatini (ex-Swaziland) for today clash in Mbabane. The win allows the Senegalese to play in their 16th AFCON, and second for Aliou Cissé who guided them, as a captain-player, to the final in 2002 which they lost against Cameroon on penalty shoot-out in Bamako before reiterating 17 years against Egypt in 2019, this time as a coach. Cissé, Bouba Diop, Camara, Beye, Al Hadj Diouf, Omar Daf etc caused havoc at 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan, defeating the defending champions-France in the opening game, under the tutelage of the late French coach Bruno Metsu and his late deputy Jules Bocande- “Capitaine Fracasse”.