Senegal’s Lions of Teranga put on an entertaining display for a packed Diamniadio Olympic Stadium on Saturday as they rolled to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Benin to start off their 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying campaign on an emphatic note. Superstar Sadio Mané tallied a hat-trick including two penalty kicks to put the hosts up 3-0 before Benin scored a late consolation through Junior Olaitan. Senegal will stay in Dakar for an “away” fixture against Rwanda and Benin will host Mozambique in their next match.
The hosts unleashed a barrage of attacks from the start in front of a vocal home crowd and it only took ten minutes before they earned their first golden opportunity. Mané drove to the end line on the left wing and put in a low cross to find Pape Sarr whose first-time shot was blocked by the arm of sliding Benin defender David Kiki. Mané stepped up and blasted his spot kick down the middle past goalkeeper Saturnin Allagbé.
Mané and his attacking cohorts continued to terrorize the Beninese defense and after a few chances Senegal doubled the lead through Mané again. The Liverpool forward combined with Nampalys Mendy on the right wing, who returned a pass through the legs of a Benin defender for Mané to shoot on goal. Allagbé saved the first effort right back to Mané who lifted his follow up shot into the roof of the net over the prone goalkeeper.
Benin threatened a couple of times through striker Steve Mounié but could not threaten the Senegalese lead. Soon after halftime Mané once again caused the Benin defense trouble when he won a physical duel with Sessi D’Almeida and the midfielder was forced to drag Mané down, leading to a straight red card for being the last defender. Not long after Ismaïla Sarr was sent in on goal and was tripped up by Allagbé as he tapped the ball around the goalkeeper, leading to another authoritative penalty kick from Mané to complete his hat-trick. Benin ended the match positively when Tosin Aiyegbun fed a through ball to Olaitan for a quality low finish but it was a mere consolation.
Highlights are below.