Mané crowns 3-1 victory to send Senegal to the final

Sadio Mané set up a goal and scored the last himself as Senegal beat Burkina Faso 3-1 on Wednesday to reach their second successive Africa Cup of Nations final.

Now, Senegal hopes to finally win a title.

Mané scored on an 87th-minute breakaway to seal victory in Yaoundé after Senegal went 2-0 up and then saw Burkina Faso recover a goal with eight minutes remaining.

Senegal will play for the African title against either Egypt or tournament host Cameroon, who will meet in the second semi-final on Thursday.

The Senegal-Burkina Faso semi-final came to life at the end of the match, with all four goals coming in the last 20 minutes.

Defender Abdou Diallo converted a corner kick to give Senegal the lead in the 70th after central defender Kalidou Koulibaly sent the ball into goal with a shot from above. Bamba Dieng made it 2-0 in the 76th when Mané deftly stole possession from a Burkina Faso defender on the baseline and set up a cross for Dieng.

Blati Touré briefly gave Burkina Faso hope when he forced a cross with his knee in the 82nd.

But Mané seized an opportunity on a counterattack when he broke away from the Burkinabe defense and passed the ball over goalkeeper Farid Ouédraogo.

Mané casually turned after scoring and ran towards the running track surrounding the field, where he was harassed by his teammates.

Mané has done his part in creating a final matchup between two of African football’s superstars. He now turns to Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah from Egypt.

Senegal have for years carried the unwanted label of being the best team in Africa that never won the Cup of Nations. He lost the final in 2002 and in the last tournament in 2019.

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Mané, coach Aliou Cissé and others from the defeat three years ago in Egypt now have a chance to put it right immediately.

Burkina Faso’s starting goalkeeper Hervé Koffi was stretchered off in the first half after running off his line to clear a ball and crashing into Senegal’s Cheikhou Kouyaté, who then landed full weight on Koffi.

Mané put the new goalkeeper Ouédraogo to the test with a devastating shot that he managed to deflect with blows.

Senegal also received a penalty late in the first half for a handball against Edmond Tapsoba, who was celebrating his 23rd birthday.

His present was to see referee Bamlak Tessema Weyesa of Ethiopia review the VAR and then disallow the penalty, as well as the yellow card he gave Tapsoba.

Senegal finally broke through when Diallo reacted quickly to score from close range, sending a group of Senegal substitutes onto the pitch to celebrate with him.

While Senegal have another shot at that elusive title, Burkina Faso have now lost one final and two semi-finals in the last five African Cups.

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