A Sadio Mane penalty seven minutes into added time enabled lacklustre Senegal to beat Zimbabwe 1-0 in their Africa Cup of Nations Group B opener.

Defeat was harsh on Zimbabwe, who made one of the tournament favourites look distinctly ordinary in Bafoussam.

In the fourth minute of stoppage time, Kelvin Madzongwe was adjudged to have handled as he turned his back on a strike from Pape Gueye.

Liverpool forward Mane rifled home to give Senegal the perfect start.

Featuring a side shorn of several players, including captain Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy, because of Covid, the Senegalese had earlier missed a host of chances.

The best fell to midfielder Gana Gueye shortly before half-time but the Paris St-Germain star could not control an easy pass from Mane with the goal beckoning.

Mane himself had been denied earlier in the half when shooting straight at impressive Zimbabwe goalkeeper Petros Mhari after wriggling into space in the box.

Senegal came into this tournament seeking a first Nations Cup crown after losing the 2019 final to Algeria, but were far from their best after only being able to name 17 players, out of a squad of 28, through a mix of Covid cases and injuries.

(BBC)

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