Sadio Mane‘s Senegal side fell to a disappointing 1-0 defeat in a fiery Africa Cup of Nations group stage game against Algeria.
The Liverpool No. 10 played from his usual left-sided attacking role for his nation, but was a subdued figure for much of the game.
Having won their opening fixture against Tanzania in Group C, a second victory here would have secured progression to the knock-out phase for Mane and his side, but they must now come up with a positive result in their final game against Kenya.
A whole host of poor challenges were missed by the referee and his assistants in a rather appalling officiating display—and two in particular were on Mane himself.
First was a poor challenge in open play which left the winger writhing on the ground, but more notably was a pair of Algerian defenders sandwiching the Liverpool man in the penalty box in the second half—but no penalty was given when it looked a clear foul.
No penalty……. How? Where the f**k is VAR?!!!! #SENALG #mane pic.twitter.com/PxEX5GdMNt
— Gaz and 315,845 others (@Geerilla_) June 27, 2019
The telling moment in the game came just five minutes after the break, with Algeria’s Youcef Belaili scoring.
A good move down the right ended in a cut-back ball to Belaili, who rocketed in a right-footed shot to seal the points.
You just can't stop those! ?
Senegal keeper Mendy didn't even move as Belaili's strike fizzed into the back of the net to give Algeria the lead ??#AFCON2019 pic.twitter.com/nOpTThOIKp
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) June 27, 2019
Mane managed to get a couple of shots away, but didn’t really threaten to equalise.
He was, though, Senegal’s most likely source of chances in the final 25 minutes of the game, as he sparked to life with a series of powerful, driving runs down the left wing.
A couple of corners aside, though, he wasn’t able to present his Senegalese team-mates with anything clear-cut enough to salvage a point and there’s work to do if they are to prolong their stay in Egypt, having gone into the tournament as one of the two or three biggest favourites to win.
Mane’s final group game against Kenya takes place on Monday, 1 July at 8pm BST.