Senegal have easily become one of the most exciting sides to watch this World Cup tournament and that’s due in no small part to our Sadio Mane. Of course we all hoped he’d be just as electrifying for his country as he is for us, and those hopes have definitely come to fruition. Chosen to captain the side and play in his preferred position of winger, he’s been the exciting and dependable addition a team like Senegal needed to depend on.
Senegal very nearly escaped Group H today, leading their match against Japan 2-1, only to have Keisuke Honda score in the 78th minute. Senegal were unable to take the lead again and Mane spoke about that frustration to the press following the match.
“Frankly speaking we’re all disappointed and that’s normal, because there was a way to win this match,” said Mane, who scored the opening goal for Senegal.
“We started the game well. We scored, then they equalized, and it was the same thing in the second-half. So we now have a decisive match to try to qualify. We’re going to try to prepare really well to qualify, because that’s the only thing for us left to do.”
Both teams put up quite the fight today to secure their spot in the upcoming round of 16, but with the draw Senegal face a tough competition going forward. Instead of going straight through, they have to fight for their lives against an equally exciting Colombian side on Thursday. Disappointment that isn’t foreign to Mane.
“Honestly, we’re all disappointed, because there was a chance to win the match and we didn’t do it but we can’t underestimate Japan,” continued the winger.
“They played well and managed to create quite a lot of opportunities, scoring twice. We shared a point, it’s important to have that point, and we have a decisive game coming up. We have to manage this and take away the positive points in order to qualify for the last 16.”
That’s what the World Cup is all about, after all. Excitement and life saving positivity to get through to the next round. Hopefully Sadio is there.