Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Saturday, 18 November 2023 23:26

Sadio Mane scores brace in an easy win over South Sudan.

Staff Reporter.

Senegal opened their 2026 World Cup Qualifying campaign with a comfortable 4-0 win over Group B rivals South Sudan at the Olympic Stadium in Diamniadio on Saturday evening.

The Teranga Lions completely dominated the encounter, with Sadio Mane (two), Pape Sarr and Lamine Camara sharing the goals, though the reigning African champions could have racked up a far more emphatic score line had they been truly ruthless in the final third.

Senegal wasted no time in asserting themselves and claimed the lead inside the opening minute of the match, as Pape Sarr sent a low shot beyond the reach of goalkeeper Majak Mawith.

In the sixth minute Sadio Mane made it 2-0, running onto a clever touch from Habib Diallo before finishing emphatically from just inside the penalty area.

On 29 minutes South Sudan were perhaps lucky not to be reduced to 10 men when Mawith tripped up Mane outside the penalty area as the attacker looked to round the 'keeper – with the referee perhaps taking some mercy on the under-siege minnows.

The Teranga Lions kept up the immense pressure in attack and finally claimed a third goal in the 45th minute when Idrissa Gueye teed up Lamine Camara with shooting space inside the box and he crashed home a powerful shot to strengthen the home side’s grip on the game.

And Senegal needed just 12 minutes of the second half to add to their advantage, with Mane winning and converting a penalty to make it 4-0.

The hosts soon opted for four changes, which included the withdrawal of Mane, Krepin Diatta, Sarr and Ilimane Ndiaye, as coach Aliou Cisse opted to rest key men ahead of another Group B clash in the coming midweek.

Senegal went on to have more chances – twice seeing goals ruled out for offside – but a combination of fine goalkeeping from Mawith and a lack of precision in the finishing meant no further goals were netted.

The teams will return to Group B action on Tuesday 21 November, with South Sudan 'hosting' Mauritania in Diamniadio, while Senegal will visit Togo in Lome.