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Mané and company storm past Namibia to extend Senegal’s lead in Group H

The Teranga Lions of Senegal made it three wins from three games in their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, moving up to nine points and growing their lead to five points in Group H following a 3-1 win over Namibia on Saturday. Superstar forward Sadio Mané, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Famara Diedhiou all scored for the West African powerhouse in Thiès and now a win in the return match will see Senegal clinch an early qualification for the final round. Namibia put up some resistance but were simply overpowered, and now the second place team in the group will need to win in the rematch in South Africa.

The hosts had their first clear cut opportunity before ten minutes were up when Ismaïla Sarr took a low shot from just outside the penalty area that had Namibia keeper Virgil Vries clearly beat, but clipped the post before going wide. In the 10th minute, however, Namibia did fall behind. Krépin Diatta made a slick run down the left wing and managed to get his cross in to find Mané, who made a move to his right to try and get a shot off but saw Gueye rushing forward and left the ball for the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder to strike home from 18 yards out.

Despite Senegal’s dominance for long periods, Namibia looked capable at times and had an excellent chance to equalize in the 27th minute. Mamelodi Sundowns star striker Peter Shalulile pounced on a slack back pass and surged towards the Senegalese goal on the left side of the penalty area, laying a ball across to find Elmo Kambindu. However, Kambindu’s overexcitement led to him failing to get his feet set and he tripped over his own feet as he failed to get a shot off.

Senegal made the Brave Warriors pay ten minutes later when Mané sent in Sarr down the left wing and the Watford winger picked out Diedhiou with a precise cross for a headed goal. Mané got on the scoresheet himself ten minutes into the second half with an outstanding goal, weaving through multiple Namibian defenders before coolly finishing past a cement footed Vries.

It looked like Senegal was capable of winning by seven or eight goals after the goal from Mané, but the Teranga Lions relaxed and allowed a determined Namibia to threaten to get back in the match. In the 76th minute, substitute Willy Stephanus unloaded a firm shot that Senegalese keeper Edouard Mendy struggled to corral and the bouncing rebound was bundled in by Joslin Kamatuka to make it 3-1. Soon after, Shaulile received a ball on the right side of the penalty area with space to shoot and sent his effort just over.

However, it was Mané once again who popped up to restore the three-goal deficit by darting down the left and leaving Namibia’s Vetunuavi Hambira in the dust before laying a low ball across for Keita Baldé to tap in. The Senegalese certainly let their guard down but in the end the quality in attack was too much. Highlights of the match are in the link below.

Highlights from FIFA TV

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