Senegal, one of the favorites for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations title, kicked off their campaign in Monday's early fixture, with the Lions of Teranga locking horns with Zimbabwe in an interesting clash.
Sadio Mane and Co. got things off under severe turbulence, with COVID-19 spreading in their camp and ruling out several players. Nonetheless, the game went through as Senegal embarked on their hunt for their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title.
Unfortunately, Aliou Cissé's men struggled for the most part to break down the opposition, with both teams failing to score in the first half. Things remained the same, for the most part, in the second 45 minutes up until the dying minutes of the game.
The 2019 AFCON runners-up waited for their opening goal until the 97th minute, with Senegal being awarded a crucial penalty deep into added time. Sadio Mane, the Lions of Teranga's talisman figure, stepped up to take the spot kick and smashed it into the back of the net with ease, earning his nation the three points with practically the final kick of the game. Check it out in the videos below (geo-restrictions apply).
Heartbreak for Zimbabwe!— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) January 10, 2022
Sadio Mané slots home an added-time penalty to give Senegal the win pic.twitter.com/VLUoqWmxta
Sadio Mané scored a 97th-minute penalty to win the game for Senegal.— B/R Football (@brfootball) January 10, 2022
The TotalEnergies Man of the Match award goes to the spectacular Sadio Mané!— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 (@CAF_Online) January 10, 2022
What an incredible performance! #TeamSenegal | @FootballSenegal | #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 | #AFCON2021 | #SENZWE | @Football2Gether pic.twitter.com/1VzpKAni5R
Winning with a clean sheet is the best possible start for Senegal; however, the African giants will need to up their performance. Nonetheless, the title contenders have snatched a crucial lead in Group B.