Mane fails to fire Senegal in AfCoN draw

·2-min read

Pre-tournament favourites Senegal failed to impress again as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations, but the result should ensure both teams' progress to the knockout stages.

Senegal, heavily impacted by COVID-19 infections, share top spot in Group B on four points with west African rivals Guinea after both teams won their respective opening games on Monday.

Later on Friday in the same Kouekong Stadium in Bafoussam, Malawi's Frank Mhango scored twice as they stunned southern African rivals Zimbabwe with a 2-1 victory.

But Malawi are on three points, still one behind the two group favourites.

With the top two in each group, plus the four best third-placed finishers to advance, four points is expected to be enough for a place in the last 16.

In Group C, Morocco proved too strong for the Comoros Islands, winning 2-0 with goals from Selim Amallah and Zakaria Aboukhlal to stay top on six points from two games and ensure their own progress to the last 16.

In the same group, Ghana had to settle for a 1-1 draw as Gabon struck two minutes from time through Jim Allevinah to put the Africa Cup of Nations campaign of the four-time champions in peril.

Ghana's captain Andre Ayew blasted home a superb left-foot shot for an 18th minute lead but the result leaves them with one point from two matches and in danger of elimination if they do not win their last game against Comoros next Tuesday.

A testy encounter ended in scuffles and a red card for Ghana's Benjamin Tetteh for his part in the post-match punch up.

Gabon were without captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was diagnosed with 'cardiac lesions' after recovering from COVID.

Senegal have done little to live up to their tag as the team to beat at the tournament as they feel the impact of 10 absentees.

Senegal captain Sadio Mane had a chance from a close-range free kick early in Friday's game but struck the wall with his effort.

He was largely overshadowed in the opening half by his Liverpool teammate Naby Keita, who drove his Guinea team forward on frequent occasions with probing runs at the opposing defence.

Senegal's 10 missing players, all out because of COVID-19 infections, included captain Kalidou Koulibaly and first choice goalkeeper Edouard Mendy.

Other absentees were Idrissa Gana Gueye and Fode Ballo Toure, who tested positive following the narrow 1-0 win over Zimbabwe in their opening match.

"It's been very difficult for us with all of these missing players," Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said.

Guinea also had four players missing, who were in quarantine after testing positive.

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