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Rwandan resistance holds out before Senegal bailed out by penalty

Rwanda held out and neutralized a loaded Senegalese attack for over ninety minutes before the Lions of Teranga were awarded a penalty kick in the final seconds of the match, leading to Sadio Mané’s late winner in a 1-0 2023 AFCON qualifying victory on Tuesday. The Liverpool star’s goal gives Senegal six points from their opening two matches while Rwanda remain on one point to wrap up the first set of AFCON qualifying fixtures for both teams.

Rwanda, forced to host the match in Senegal due to an unsuitable home stadium by CAF standards, put players behind the ball and did excellently to frustrate a Senegalese side who overran Benin at the Diamniadio Olympic Stadium. Senegal launched several attacks early on in an attempt to overwhelm the Rwandan defense and had two opportunities in the opening fifteen minutes. A 12th minute corner kick from Pape Matar Sarr picked out a Mané run at the near post but he could not direct his header towards goal.

Sarr had his own look on goal a couple of minutes later when a cross was cleared out to the edge of the area and the FC Metz player sent his volley attempt wide. For a long stretch it was a brilliant defensive performance from the Amavubi who constantly frustrated the Senegalese attack by stacking players in the box and getting good performances out of a hard working midfield.

It appeared that Rwanda would hold out for a draw after Mané drew a foul and the resulting free kick was easily handled by Rwanda goalkeeper Olivier Kwizera in the second minute of second half stoppage time. However, a pass into the penalty area on the left wing from Mané was deflected and after left back Saliou Ciss touched the ball he was tripped up by Rwanda center back Ange Mutsinzi for a penalty kick. Kwizera got a touch to Mané’s spot kick but could not keep it out and Senegal squeaked out three points.

Highlights are below.

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