Although football fans can be an egotistical bunch, we generally want good things for our players, and before this year’s African Cup of Nations, the desire to see Liverpool’s talismanic attackers Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah back at Anfield as soon as possible was largely overridden by the desire to see the pair enjoy success with their countries.
A meeting of Reds in the final of the tournament was always a fairly realistic outcome, given the quality of the players in question and their respective nations, and after the first semi-final, we’re halfway there, as Sadio Mané and Senegal stamped their tickets to the final with a 3-1 win over Burkina Faso.
The Burkinabe surprise team of the tournament held up against the pressure from the Lions for over an hour, but in the 70th minute, they were finally forced to relent, and despite Blati Touré pulling one back with ten minutes to go, Senegal simply proved too strong, running out comfortable and deserved winners in the end.
Sadio Mané assisted Senegal’s second goal and scored their third, taking his personal tally in the tournament to three goals and two assists, making a strong argument for his case as the best player of the tournament thus far.
The Liverpool man will find out whether he will face off against his team-mate in Sunday’s final tomorrow — to the delight of drama enthusiasts everywhere — when Mohamed Salah and Egypt take on the host nation Cameroon.