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Sadio Mane closes out remarkable season with late winner for Senegal

Sadio Mane was tasked with converting yet another decisive penalty on Tuesday, and he did just that for Senegal to clinch a late victory in their latest Africa Cup of Nations qualifier.

As talks of his Anfield exit continue amid a growing Bayern Munich pursuit, Mane’s current focus lies with his country and their early qualification fixtures for the 2023 AFCON.

The 30-year-old started his second game in succession for Senegal in the space of just three days, and his goal return showed no signs of his future weighing on his mind.

In the group opener on Saturday, Mane scored a hat-trick against Benin to become Senegal’s all-time leading goalscorer with 32 strikes, a tally he has wasted no time in adding to on Tuesday.

Senegal took on Rwanda in their second game of Group L, with Mane on the right of a forward line that included Habib Diallo and Ismaila Sarr.

The match was played in Senegal as Rwanda does not possess an international standard stadium, and despite 116 places separating the two teams in the world rankings, they could only be separated eight minutes into stoppage time.

And that came off the boot of Mane from the penalty spot after Saliou Ciss was adjudged to have been impeded after Liverpool’s No. 10 chipped the ball his way in the penalty box.

It was nearly three minutes later that Mane lined up his spot-kick and converted confidently into the bottom left corner, no Wembley misstep here.

The thousands of Senegal fans in the ground made for relieved and joyous scenes as Aliou Cisse’s side ensured they did not pay for their inability to make the most of their dominance on the ball.

The strikes took Mane’s tally for his country this month to four goals in 185 minutes of action, ensuring his remarkable 2021/22 season ended on a celebratory note.

While a well-earned break is headed his way, Mane’s future will continue to dominate discussion as his six-year spell with Liverpool looks set to come to an end.

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