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Wayne Lumbasi

After an exciting night of football, Senegal beat Burkina Faso 3-1 to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations Final.

Sadio Mane inspired Senegal to the finals with a goal and an assist. Sadio Mane was simply unreal. He was all over the pitch and wasn’t playing under any kind of pressure at all. The 2019 defeated finalists are back in the showpiece hoping to claim their first ever title.

Both sides failed to break the deadlock before half-time, but twice, Aliou Cisse’s side was correctly denied a penalty after VAR interventions.

The underdogs refused to lie down against their star-studded opponents, but it was Senegal that managed to break the deadlock when Abdou Diallo fired home from close range with 20 minutes remaining. 

Mane then set up Idrissa Gueye with a dangerous ball from the byline to double his side’s advantage.

Senegal Team (The Lions of Teranga) /Getty Images/

Burkina Faso refused to give up and set up what could have been a tense end to the game, as they reduced the deficit at 82 minutes. Blati Toure struck an effort past Edouard Mendy, but it wasn’t enough for Kamou Malo’s men. He made it look like they may be able to force extra time.

Mane made sure there would be no comeback by netting a third goal. The Liverpool winger reaped the rewards of a calamitous error from two Burkina Faso players, who surrendered possession as they bizarrely tackled each other outside their own penalty area. 

Edmond Tapsoba was left stranded as the ball was nicked away from him by a team-mate into the path of Mane, with Sadio Mane making no mistake in finding the back of the net with a finely-weighted chip. Sadio Mane has three goals and two assists in six AFCON games for Senegal.

Sadio Mane, man of the match /Getty Images/

Senegal came into the tournament with the strongest side and as one of the favourites. And while they have played within themselves in general, they unfurled their offensive firepower and were it not for Edmond Tapsoba they would have blown Burkina Faso away. 

As it turns out they had to make do with a 3-1 win, and now they are in the final and brimming with confidence.

They have the best defense at the tournament, the best center-backs, the best goalkeeper and a midfield consisting of three defensive midfielders.

Egypt or Cameroon now stand between Senegal and a first AFCON title; it’ll take something serious to take it from them.

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