Mane aiming to return to AFCON final – XenBet

Sadio Mane will be hoping to fire Senegal back into the Africa Cup of Nations final when they take on Burkina Faso in the semi-finals on Wednesday. 

Senegal’s hopes of winning a first AFCON title were dashed by Algeria back in 2019 but they are looking to become the first team since Egypt in 2010 to reach successive finals – and this time they will be desperate to go one better and lift the trophy.

History appears to be in their favour too. That loss to Algeria is the Lions of Teranga’s only defeat in their past six knockout games in the competition, and they have only conceded two goals in that span.  

Furthermore, they are unbeaten in their two previous AFCON meetings with Burkina Faso, though both of those came in the group stage. 

But Burkina Faso are no strangers to this stage of the competition. They have made the final four for the fourth time in their history and the third time in the past five editions – this despite not even qualifying for the 2019 tournament. 

Kamou Malo’s team did well to upset Tunisia in the quarter-finals, though they will be without their goalscorer Dango Ouattara after his red card in the 82nd minute of their 1-0 victory. 

Malo said: “I think that at this level of competition, there are no limits. Don’t worry, we all have the same goal, which is to win this trophy. 

“As for my desire to go all the way in this competition, yes, there is no doubt about that. We are ready to be extremely competitive to go to the end of this competition.” 

Burkina Faso’s hopes of pulling off another upset will rely heavily on keeping Mane at bay. 

The Liverpool star may have just two goals in Cameroon, but only Mohamed Salah (14), Sofiane Boufal (11) and Ibrahim Sangare (eight) have outdone his seven open-play key passes in the competition.

That contagious smile #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021 | #AFCON2021 | #TeamSenegal pic.twitter.com/Sb6nxXwG6i

— #TotalEnergiesAFCON2021  (@CAF_Online) January 31, 2022

One to watch: Gustavo Sangare (Burkina Faso) 

With Ouattara absent due to suspension, Sangare will be expected to step up on the opposite wing. 

He has already been important for Burkina Faso, scoring the opening goal of the tournament in a 2-1 loss to hosts Cameroon in the group stage – no one in the squad has found the net on more than one occasion in the competition. 

But it is his ingenuity that the Stallions could use more than anything. Only Zakaria Sanogo and Blati Toure (four each) have created more chances from open play for Burkina Faso than Sangare’s three, while the Quevilly winger has been involved in a team-high three goal-ending sequences. 

He has proven to be a real threat with the ball at his feet and could help thwart Senegal and send the underdogs into the showpiece. 

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Author: Heidi Porter