Sadio Mane scored a last gasp penalty to give Senegal a 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in their opening match at the Africa Cup of Nations.
The Liverpool star blasted home from the spot after a handball from Kelvin Madzongwe deep into stoppage-time.
Liverpool star Mane missed a golden opportunity in the first half, but he was largely kept at arm’s length by a determined Warriors side, who looked to have earned an unexpected point.
Mane cut a frustrated figure for much of the first half as a disjointed Senegal side struggled to break down Zimbabwe despite their status as overwhelming favourites.
With the Liverpool forward taking the captain’s armband in the absence of Napoli defender Kalidou
Koulibaly – who joined Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy on the sidelines after both tested positive for Covid-19 – there was an increased pressure on his shoulders to sparkle in his side’s attack.
Mane came close to opening the scoring with a trademark bust into the box from the left, but his low, somewhat scuffed shot was well saved by Warriors goalkeeper Petros Mhari.
The forward then looked to have teed up a golden opportunity for Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Idrissa Gueye, but the former Aston Villa and Everton man took a heavy touch after being found by his skipper in front of goal.
Although somewhat fortunate to escape on that occasion, Zimbabwe were holding out well even though there were restricted to long-range efforts which failed to trouble stand-in Senegal keeper Seny Dieng, of QPR.
In the second period Mane was often seen dropping into central and deeper areas in between his fellow attackers Boulaye Dia and Keita Balde, but despite his best efforts he was unable to inspire any form of sustained attacking cohesion. One clever ball found Balde, but the Cagliari man was unable to find Villarreal’s Dia in the middle.
Senegal were only able to name six substitutes due to ongoing Covid cases within the squad, and they looked to be beginning to run out of ideas as a Mane free-kick was headed over the bar by centre-back Abdou Diallo.
Substitute Habib Diallo then missed a golden opportunity to tee up Mane when his low cross following a fast break was well gathered by the impressive Mhari, with Mane lurking.
He would then step up in the last seconds of the match after Madzongwe’s handball, earning three points for his side.
Zimbabwe’s spirited display was made all the more impressive by the fact that they weren’t sure if they would even be competing in the tournament less than a week ago.
Salah overtakes Ronaldo as Premier League’s highest-paid player with new deal
Mohamed Salah’s new £400,000-per-week salary at Liverpool has made him the top earner in the Premier League, according to Daily Mail.
The Egyptian has ended speculation about his future, by putting pen to paper on a bumper deal until 2025.
Salah is now ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) and Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), who are on reported salaries of £385,000-per-week.
City’s new striker, Erling Haaland, is close behind on £375,000-per-week, the same wage as United goalkeeper David de Gea.
Salah, however, ranks as the fourth highest-paid footballer in the world.
The 30-year-old’s wages is dwarfed by those ahead of him, all of whom play for Paris Saint-Germain.
Neymar comes in at third-place with £606,000-per-week.
Lionel Messi took a pay cut when he joined PSG from Barcelona last summer, but he’s still on a stunning salary of £960,000-per-week.
Messi was the biggest earner in the world until a few weeks ago, when he was overtaken by team-mate Kylian Mbappe, who signed a new three-year contract with the Ligue 1 side reported to be worth £1million-per-week.
PSG to offload Messi
Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly planning to offload forward Lionel Messi this summer, according to Spanish journalist Pedro Morata via PSG Talk.
Messi joined PSG last summer from his boyhood club, Barcelona.
The Argentine captain failed to live up to expectations, scoring just 11 goals from 34 games across competitions for PSG.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner, though, has shown signs of a revival over the summer.
Messi was outstanding for La Albiceleste in the last few games, scoring goals for fun and winning the Finalissima.
However, it appears PSG have run out of patience with Messi.
PSG’s new sporting director Luis Campos is planning a squad revamp and is also ready to axe Messi.
EPL: Arsenal agree deal with 25-year-old midfielder
Arsenal have agreed on personal terms with 25-year-old Leicester City midfielder, Youri Tielemans.
This claim was made by respected Journalist Ben Jacobs.
According to Jacobs, Arsenal have ‘put in a heck lot of work’ to secure a deal for the Belgium international.
Speaking to GiveMeSport, Ben Jacobs was quoted as saying: “Arsenal have put in a heck of a lot of work into Tielemans.
“They have agreed personal terms, and their talks with Tielemans date back for the best part of a year. But for whatever reason, Arsenal have decided not to swoop just yet and actually table a bid with Leicester City.
“And if they do so, and agree a fee at the lowest end £25 million, at the highest end £32 million, they will get Youri Tielemans.”
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