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Mane scores as Senegal qualify for Africa Cup of Nations finals




By Mark Gleeson

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Senegal became the first country to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals after a late goal from Sadio Mane secured a 1-0 victory away at Guinea Bissau on Sunday.

Mane, who also scored last Wednesday when Senegal beat Guinea Bissau 2-0 at home, netted with eight minutes remaining to ensure they maintained their 100 percent record in Group I where they are guaranteed a top-two finish and therefore a place at the finals in Cameroon in January 2022.

Senegal have 12 points from four games, six ahead of second-placed Congo and nine ahead of Guinea Bissau in third spot.

Senegal were runners-up at the last Cup of Nations tournament in Egypt in 2019.

Mane’s Liverpool team mate Naby Keita scored for Guinea as they stayed top in Group A with a 1-1 draw away in Chad.

Ahmat Abdaraman equalised just before halftime for Chad, who collected their first point after three successive defeats.

Earlier on Sunday, Saidi Ntibazonkiza scored twice and Youssouf Ndayishimiye added the other as Burundi beat Mauritania 3-1 in Bujumbura. Burundi are one point behind second-placed Mauritania in Group E with both countries left with two qualifiers to play in March.

The top two teams in each of the 12 qualifying groups advance to the finals except in Group F where the highest finisher besides Cameroon, already in the finals as hosts but also playing in the preliminaries, goes through.

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