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African Cup Of Nations: Sadio Mane And Senegal Break Burkina Faso Hearts To Reach Final

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Senegal are through to their second successive Africa Cup of Nations final after breaking Burkina Faso’s heart in their round of 16 tie in Yaoundé on Wednesday. Abdou Diallo, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Sadio Mane all scored goals in the second half to secure a 3-1 victory. Africa’s top-ranked national team, Senegal, will meet their opponents in Sunday’s final on Thursday, when host Cameroon take on Egypt in the second semi-final. “We dedicate this victory to our people,” said Senegal coach Aliou Cissé.

“We are very satisfied tonight. Our goal is to win the trophy because that is what the boys deserve given everything they have put into this.”

Cissé’s side had two penalties awarded in the first half only for the Ethiopian referee to change his mind on both occasions following a VAR review.

However, they took the lead just after the middle of the second period when the Paris Saint-Germain defender Diallo appeared in the area to produce a shot from the striker.

The second came in the 76th minute when Mane provided an excellent assist for Gueye, also of PSG, to score, and Mane completed the victory late after Blati Toure reversed a goal.

Senegal’s two possible final rivals are the most successful teams in AFCON history with 12 titles between them, while the Teranga Lions are still seeking their first continental crown, two and a half years after losing to Algeria in the final of Cairo.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get to two AFCON finals in a row, but the most important thing for us right now is to go all the way and win, whoever we’re up against,” said Mane.

Senegal’s opponents here cannot be underestimated.

Burkina Faso have proven to be a talented young team fueled by a desire to bring joy to fans in a country reeling after President Roch Marc Christian Kabore was ousted in a military coup last week.

That came against the backdrop of a jihadist insurgency in the landlocked country, and his coach, Kamou Malo, spoke of the events giving his team “additional motivation”.

They took the goalkeeper Koffi

They put up a lot of fight and matched their opponents for long stretches, but they didn’t bother Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy on Senegal’s goal often enough.

Mendy’s opposite, Herve Koffi, was stretchered out half an hour after landing horribly when he came up to clear the ball in an aerial challenge with Cheikhou Kouyate.

Referee Bamlak Tessema initially gave a penalty kick before changing his mind after a VAR review, as Kouyate was able to restart but Koffi was not.

“There is nothing to suggest that he is seriously injured, but he is undergoing more tests so that we can be calm,” said Malo, who said his family had enjoyed “a wonderful adventure.”

Referee Tessema also pointed to the spot in first-half stoppage time when a Gueye shot hit Burkina Faso’s Edmond Tapsoba’s arm in the box, but again changed his mind after a review of footage showed the The defender’s arm was close to his body.

The breakthrough came with 20 minutes remaining, Kalidou Koulibaly attempting an acrobatic corner kick and inadvertently setting up Diallo to score, past substitute goalkeeper Soufiane Farid Ouedraogo.

Senegal’s pressure made the second goal when Mane reached the baseline and set up Gueye, who beat Bamba Dieng to the end.

After that, it was always going to be a big question for the Stallions against a team from Senegal who had only conceded once in the entire tournament.

They reduced the difference eight minutes from time when Issa Kabore’s cross was deflected by Toure’s knee.

However, Mane had the last word, bursting in the 87th minute to make it 3-1.

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He will find out on Thursday if he will face his Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah and Egypt in the final.

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