Today’s quarterfinal clash between Cameroon and Senegal in the Africa Cup of Nations ended in heartbreak for Reds attacker Sadio Mané.
Senegal were favorites heading into the match but couldn’t overcome Cameroon’s staunch defending. Mané set up a promising chance in the first half by playing Stoke’s Mame Diouf through on goal but his countryman couldn’t seal the deal. Sadio and others had other opportunities throughout regulation and, later, into extra time. But Cameroon held the favorites scoreless through 120 minutes, forcing a penalty shootout.
Both sides were on-target through four rounds of penalties when Mané stepped up to take Senegal’s fifth. But his shot was blocked by Cameroon keeper Joseph Ondoa. This set up a decisive shot from Vincent Aboubakar, who hit the back of the net and sent Cameroon into the last fall.
As happy as Liverpool fans will no doubt be to have Sadio back, let’s all be mindful of how he’s feeling right now. Representing Senegal is extremely important to him, and while we don’t have public remarks quite yet, it’s not completely out of left field to imagine Mané’s emotional state right now. Missing a crucial penalty of that magnitude is something that can stick with footballers for years. We all love Sadio, and we’re all glad to have him back, but let’s at least offer him some support after what was undoubtedly a tough night.