Senegal qualified for the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) final for the second consecutive time following a 3-1 win over Burkina Faso at the Ahmadou Ahidjo Stadium in Yaounde, Cameroon on Wednesday night.
It was an evenly poised match, going into the break at 0-0 until the second half when the Lions of Teranga scored three goals in 20 minutes to win the semifinal tie despite a late fightback from the 2013 finalists.
Senegal who have never won the continental tournament, finally got the better of Burkina Faso in the 70th minute, as Abdou Diallo of French giants Paris Saint-Germain broke the deadlock.
His club teammate Idrissa Gana Gueye was on target six minutes later to double the lead for the tournament favourites and put them on course for another final but Burkina Faso pulled on back in the 82nd minute through Blati Toure to set the game up for a momentous finish.
Liverpool star Sadio Mane put the game to an end, three minutes to stoppage time with a fine lob over goalkeeper Farid Ouedraogo of Burkina Faso.
“We knew it would not be easy, it was a semi-final of the Cup of Nations after all. And we were up against a good Burkina Faso team who gave us a lot of problems. We were calm and we took our opportunities and I think we deserved this victory,” said Mane.
In the last two decades, Senegal made it to two finals of the AFCON championship, 2012 and 2019, but lost both.
In 2002, they lost to Samuel Eto’o’s Cameroon in the penalty shootout in which current head coach Aliou Cisse missed a spot-kick.
In the last tournament, the 2019 edition which was held in Egypt, the Lions of Teranga were beaten 1-0 by Algeria in the final.